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Young Dubliners voice support for directly elected mayor

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Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn. Photo: Frank McGrath

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn. Photo: Frank McGrath

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn. Photo: Frank McGrath

YOUNG Dubliners living in the city are the strongest supporters of a directly elected mayor for the capital, a new survey shows.

A massive 91pc of people in the 18 to 35 year old category are in favour of the office.

And 85pc of residents in the Dublin City Council area would like to see an elected mayor – a higher approval rating than any of the capital's other three local authority areas.

While the overall rate of those in favour is 78pc, it increases sharply when it comes to younger people.

The figures were compiled following a four-week online survey facilitated by the city council and Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown county councils. A total of 735 respondents took part.

Some 84pc of those in favour of the office – or 65.5pc of the total – would like to see a mayor with real power, with only a small minority advocating an ambassadorial-type role. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn, said he found it very interesting that younger people had come out so strongly in favour of the office.

He believes many of them may have drawn on their experiences in other major cities that have directly elected mayors.

"They might be thinking that they've been in London or New York and they think 'I would love my city to have that'," the Labour councillor said.

He said the results suggest a slight preference to have a mayor accountable to a directly elected body like the Dublin Regional Authority (DRA).

MEANINGLESS

At the moment, the DRA "is a relatively meaningless" association to which councillors are nominated by other councillors.

"Under the new structure, it would become a critical body," Mr Quinn added.

A number of high-profile politicians have said they would be interested in running for the elected mayor's office if it is established, including Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Dublin North Central TD Aodhan O Riordain.

Almost half (49pc) of the respondents to the council survey live in the city council area, with the remaining number was divided between Fingal (15pc), Dun Laoghaire (15pc) and South Dublin (20pc).

Only 18pc came out against the idea of an elected mayor, with a further 4pc replying that they didn't know.

Three-quarters (76pc) of people aged 36 to 55 who took part in the survey were in favour of the office, while the rate was 60pc for the over 55s.

While there was a strong preference across all regions for the role, residents in the city council area displayed the strongest support.

Some 79pc in Fingal, 72pc in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and 66pc in South Dublin backed the plan.

In terms of business owners, the preference for an elected mayor was highest among respondents who had a business interest in the city council area.

Some 70pc of all respondents felt the mayor should be responsible for transport and traffic, while 59pc said environment and waste management.

On the other end of the scale, a minority said the remit should include education or health policy.

hnews@herald.ie


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