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Cllr Dermot Lacey

Representing Pembroke-South Dock Ward on Dublin City Council
Dermot Lacey is a Labour Party Councillor for the Pembroke-South Dock Ward on Dublin City Council. Dermot has been a member of Dublin City Council since 1993, and lives in Beech Hill, Donnybrook.
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 / Cllr Dermot Lacey ƒ Representing Pembroke-South Dock Ward on Dublin City Council

Dublin Mayor debate must move beyond expenses

The proposals from the Minister for the Environment and Local Government for a directly elected Mayor are of course a welcome step forward.  Despite the fact that they remain just proposals, there is a real need to move the debate forward now beyond the issue of expenses, the Mansion House and all what we might call “the fripperies” accompanying the present post of Lord Mayor. I have already called for the proposed salary to be at least halved.

I have campaigned for the creation of this post now for many years. We have recently seen an expression of support for a directly elected “Lord Mayor” of Dublin by the former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. As he has declared his interest, let me declare mine. I challenge Bertie Ahern and any other contender to debate the issues facing our County. Let us play a part in shaping the legislation as well as seeking to implement it.

I want to see a Mayor for Dublin and not a Lord Mayor of Dublin.

There is now a recognition that our current system of Local Government requires renewal and reform. The pity is that the debate did not occur prior to the Local Elections. Let us not make the same mistake again.

While the detail of any reform is extensive, the essentials are not. If it is to be in any way meaningful reform must include:

– An Independent source of funding for Local Authorities and not subject to the whims of the Department of the Environment.

– Reform of the City and County Managers Act creating a new post of Chief Executive Officer – accountable to the relevant Local Authority and recruited by the Public Appointments Commission.

– A directly elected Mayor of Dublin with a five year term and accountable to an enhanced Dublin Regional Authority. In that context I believe that Bertie Ahern is wrong to advance the case of a directly elected Lord Mayor solely for the City. It is the Dublin region that needs such political leadership.

– Extending the role of the Dublin Regional Authority to include Transport and Planning and subsuming bodies such as the Dublin Transport Authority and the Affordable Housing Partnership.

– Real controls and limitations on electoral spending at local elections and an ethical framework that is robust and just.

Local Government is best placed to deliver real reform if let. It is time to stand up for better Local Government and long past time to “Stand up for Dublin”.

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