Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Dublin, John Lahart TD has said it would be a slap in the face to Dubliners should the capital not be given the opportunity to directly elect their Mayor.
There is growing speculation that a report from the Department of Housing and Local Government is to be presented to Cabinet and will recommend that Cork is favoured over Dublin as a pilot project for a directly elected mayor.
Deputy Lahart said, “Directly elected mayors have been a successful global model in fighting for cities interests and acting as a local champion. The proposal has the potential to provide a clear line of accountability and effective joined-up thinking when it comes to the development of the Dublin region.
“A directly elected Mayor with real power is required to maximise Dublin’s potential and to attract continued investment, tourism and business.
“Fianna Fáil’s election manifesto committed to holding local referendums on establishing directly elected mayors in key cities in Ireland. Earlier this year I introduced and debated a bill in Dáil Éireann to initiate that process in Dublin.
“If reports are accurate, and Cork is to be the first to elect its own mayor by public vote, it will be a massive slap in the face to all those who have led the campaign here in Dublin. Instead of placing Dublin on an equal footing with other global cities, this Government has chosen to pit it against other cities in Ireland.
“It’s been less than a year since Minister of State, John Paul Phelan concluded that a directly elected mayor was only really worthwhile or effective when the population of a city neared 500,000. According to the 2016 Census, the population of Cork is far below that in the region of 125,622.
“It would seem that Government has totally reneged on a commitment given by former Minister for Environment, Simon Coveney, to deliver a directly elected mayor in Dublin.
He concluded, “I will be rejecting any moves to advance the process of electing a direct mayor in Cork ahead of Ireland’s Capital and I will be ensuring this matter is raised once the Dáil resumes this month.”