herald

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Elected mayor's 'directors' to run key parts of city

DUBLIN faces the prospect of being controlled by a special "cabinet of directors" who will have strong powers in areas such as transport, housing and planning, when the new directly elected mayor comes about.

The cabinet will be appointed by the mayor and will have major responsibilities regarding the running of the capital.

The directors will not necessarily be politicians, meaning people from a range of professional backgrounds may be installed to positions of power.

Proposals for the position of mayor, seen by the Herald, will also result in some of the State's most powerful bodies being stripped of powers.

A committee appointed by Environment Minister Phil Hogan has also recommended the mayor should have "strategic responsibilities" in areas such as policing, water, education and health.

A comprehensive opinion poll, revealed today, shows that some 78pc of Dubliners are in favour of creating the position of a directly elected mayor.

The job, which has attracted interest from high-profile politicians, now looks set to come with wide ranging powers.

A draft report being considered by the Minister proposes:

* A five-year term for mayor with an option of re-election

* A special cabinet of directors who will be given specific portfolios

* An oversight assembly made up of councillors, which will be responsible for holding the mayor and cabinet to account

* The mayor's budget will be funded by a combination of the local property tax, income from rates and direct funding from Government.

The news will prove to be a boost for backers of a directly elected mayor as it will make it easier to persuade the public that the position represents a major sign of political reform.

And the report will also interest Transport Minister Leo Varadkar – who has expressed interest in the job if it comes with real powers.

TRANSFERRED

According to the draft report, a series of powers will be stripped from State agencies and Government departments and transferred to the office of mayor. Potentially dozens of public servants will also be moved from their current roles and tasked with carrying out of the functions of the office.

noconnor@herald.ie

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