Dublin Fianna Fail Candidate in the European election, Cllr. Mary Fitzpatrick, today called on the four local authorities in Dublin to vote over the coming days to allow the people to decide on having a directly elected Mayor for Dublin.
Cllr Fitzpatrick, the leader of the Fianna Fail Group on Dublin City Council, said a directly elected Executive Mayor could provide real and accountable political leadership for the people of Dublin. This would not only be good for residents and employers in Dublin but it would also greatly enhance Dublin’s ability to compete internationally.
Dublin City Council will be the first of the four local authorities to vote on putting the proposal to the people of Dublin in a plebiscite on the 23rd May in conjunction with polling day for the local and European elections when it holds a special meeting tomorrow (Monday) night.
Cllr Fitzpatrick, a long standing supporter of local government reform and a directly elected Mayor for Dublin, said as leader of the Fianna Fail Group she will be voting to allow the people of Dublin to decide on 23rd May.
“If Dublin is to compete in a global economy we need a directly elected Mayor for the City with executive powers to make changes and decisions that are in the best interests of the citizens of the city and county”, said Cllr Fitzpatrick, a member of the City Council for the last 10 years. “I have experienced at first hand in New York and other cities just how effective a directly elected Mayor with executive powers can be in transforming the social, economic and cultural life of a city”.
But she said that while supporting the vote to put the plebiscite to the people to decide she may be opposing what the people are actually being asked to vote on as it totally fails to address the critical area of local government reform. Without reforms Minister Phil Hogan is offering a politically connived sap to the people that will do nothing more than create another layer of bureaucracy that will bring with it a unnecessary duplication of administration and additional costs to the already over-burdened taxpayer.
She described the Minister’s proposals as watered down and weakened as they will leave the existing councils in place rather than integrating them. Also regrettable was that a Dublin Mayor with executive powers would need Government departments to transfer powers to add real value but Minister had backtracked on this.
She said: “In the end Minister Hogan proposes adding some 63 extra councillors across Dublin but yet again has shied away from implementing real reforms that would strengthen local government. To add insult to injury the Minister has effectively conned homeowners in Dublin into paying the Local Property Tax by promising that 80% of the money gathered in would be spent directly on providing local services. Some 90% of Dublin homeowners paid the tax and this year will contribute over €200 million to the Government coffers. Now Minister Hogan has gone back on his promise and denied the Dublin local authorities the tax receipts. Instead he has squandered the money on expensive consultants to set-up Irish Water to install water meters to extract more money for an unreliable and inadequate water service”.
Cllr Fitzpatrick also questioned the Ministers insistence that a majority of each of the four local authorities in Dublin most vote by a majority of members if the plebiscite is to be put to the people to decide. “Minister Hogan has set a particularly high bar for his proposal and one which appears to have been set so as to achieve the result he wants. If, for example, 27 out of the 52 Councillors on Dublin City Council showed up on Monday and two voted against then the resolution to put the plebiscite to the people would be lost”, Cllr Fitzpatrick said.