Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government today (7 July, 2014) held a meeting to discuss the possibility of future Governance Arrangements, including a Directly Elected Mayor for Dublin. The meeting took place in the Custom House, at the request of the Mayors, and a frank exchange of views took place.
Minister Hogan has always been favourably disposed to a Directly Elected Mayor. But he was always anxious that any such proposal would be a bottom up approach and not something prescribed by central government. “If the Dublin Authorities are serious about this they must give close consideration as to how they will provide for the governance of the metropolitan area as a whole and not just focus on the position of the Directly Elected Mayor. The citizens of Dublin are central to all of this and the local authorities must examine how they might engage them in the debate in what would be best for Dublin,” said the Minister.
Last March the members of Fingal County Council voted and did not adopt the resolution for holding a plebiscite on the establishment of an office of a directly elected Mayor for the Dublin Metropolitan Area. Noting the decision at the time the Minister said, “it was a matter for the elected members to form their own views, and it is clear that there is not a consensus across the Dublin authorities that would enable a plebiscite to be held.”
The issue of establishing a directly elected mayor in Dublin is a complex one that has been the subject of a number of unsuccessful attempts by previous Governments to resolve in recent years. “I’m not saying we need to reinvent the wheel here. The previous process was a good start but the four Dublin authorities must build on this and improve matters somewhat. Whatever comes out of this process must be substantial, realistic, and the functions and the cost and all other implications must be examined closely ,” added the Minister.
“As I said earlier I have always been in favour of a Directly Elected Mayor but in the context of the overall governance of the metropolitan area of Dublin. Today I have listened to what the four mayors in Dublin are thinking of. The previous colloquium was a good start to the process but the Dublin authorities need to build on that. It is essential that any proposal that is produced looks at the whole of Dublin in a strategic way. I have asked the group to come back to me by 31 October with an outline of what they have in mind and how it will serve all the citizens in all areas of Dublin.