Monday, 31 March 2014

Give Dubs their say on a Directly-Elected Mayor

I was honoured at today's Special Meeting of South Dublin County Council to propose the resolution on holding a plebiscite on a Directly-Elected Mayor for Dublin. And I was happy that, after a worthwhile debate, 19 Councillors voted in favour and just 3 against. You can read my speech at .

I managed to catch the last few minutes of the meeting in Fingal on their webcast and caught up on the remainder on Twitter. It was regrettable that Councillors in Fingal in essence viewed themselves as gatekeepers to democracy and blocked the resolution to hold a plebiscite.

The plebiscite vote was passed by 50-0 in Dublin City Council. 23 Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Councillors voted unanimously tonight to put the vote to a plebiscite

In total, 92 Dublin Cllrs voted in favour, and just 19 voted against.

The quadruple lock of requiring all four Councils to pass this by an absolute majority was an invention of Minister Phil Hogan and his Government, who clearly have no appetite for giving Dubliners their say on this. It gave finality to a convoluted process in which Councillors were expected, without time nor budget nor staff resources, to formulate a structure, to consult publicly and to put forward detailed proposals on a directly-elected Mayor. The plans are not perfect but despite the protestations of some Councillors today they are quite detailed.

Dubliners are rightly angry that they have been denied a vote by this convoluted invention.

There is a straightforward way of proceeding which will give Dubliners the right to have their say and which will protect residents in Fingal and other authorities from a city centre focus.

The Minister could call the plebiscite, requiring that it pass by a majority of voters in each local authority area.

That would be democratic for Fingal, and democratic for Dublin.

There is nothing stopping him - legal or otherwise.

Will he and his Government have the guts to put it to the people? I doubt it.

This blogpost was edited to take into account the result of tonight's vote in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.