Earlier this year the Minister for the Environment published the governments’ plan for local Government, “putting people first”, which includes the proposal to ask the people of Dublin to vote in May 2014 for or against the introduction of a Directly Elected Mayor.
The Lord Mayors, on behalf of the City and County Councillors of the four Dublin local authorities, are launching a public consultation today that invites the general public to have their say on the proposal for a Directly Elected Mayor for Dublin. I welcome the public consultation and encourage all Dubliners to have their say on this issue.
The public consultation begins on Monday 16th of September 2013 and the closing date for making a submission is on or before Saturday, 12th October, 2013. Members of the general public can make a submission on-line at www.mayor4dublin.ie (site goes live on 16th Sept) or make a submission at their Local Library or City Council Office. The survey asks if people want to have a Directly Elected Mayor for Dublin and if so what kind of powers they think the Mayor should have.
For Dublin to compete in the global market for jobs, investment and tourism we need strong local government and strong local political leadership. Having lived in New York City for many years I know first hand how cities can really benefit from strong and effective local government.
A directly elected Mayor for Dublin could provide strong leadership on important issues for the greater Dublin area but if introduced without real reform of the current local authorities it will be nothing more than a government puppet.
Unfortunately this Governments proposals for Local Government reform are shaping up to be a real missed opportunity for Dublin.
This public consultation process is a great opportunity for the people of Dublin to demand strong and effective local government for the capital city and to reject the Governments crazy plan to increase the number of Councillors in Dublin from 131 to 183. Already Dublin has too many Councillors. Currently in the four local authorities there are 131 Councillors representing a population of approximately 1.3m. New York City with a population of more than 8million people has 51 City Councillors and a highly effective local government.
I look forward to the results of the public consultation, hopefully this will not turn out to be just another empty PR exercise and the Government will actually take on board feedback from the people of Dublin.