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Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern speaking at the Citizens' Assembly this morning. The Citizens' Assembly Twitter

Directly elected mayor for Dublin could be a 'dog's dinner' unless proper planning takes place

The former Taoiseach said a “ten-year plan where we start building up the federal system would be great” and “putting in a mayor at the start of that might be won’t work”.

BERTIE AHERN SAYS a ten-year plan needs to be implemented before there can be a directly elected mayor of Dublin, otherwise it could be a “dog’s dinner”.

It’s the third weekend meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly on a directly elected mayor in the Grand Hotel, Malahide, with talks and discussions on local government structures taking place today and tomorrow.

The Dublin Citizens’ Assembly is tasked with considering the type of directly elected mayor best suited for Dublin, and to bring forward proposals to the Oireachtas.

Bertie Ahern gave a talk this morning titled ‘The Reality of Devolution’.

He told the Assembly that he was “very enthusiastic” about having a directly elected mayor back 2000, someone who would be “Mr or Ms Dublin”.

However, he said there was concern that “a lot of celebs would run for it, who wouldn’t care two damns about the city” once elected.

Mr Ahern added: “We looked at some systems around the world they have directly elected mayors have control of everything: control of the police, control of teaching, of all the facilities that would be operated in the city.”

However, Mr Ahern said he “could not imagine us having such a system in this country” and that it “would lead to friction and be a dog’s dinner of a system”.

Mr Ahern said rather than focusing “just on a directly elected mayor of Dublin”, there should be a federal system for the whole county and Councils should also be empowered to “evolve” and become “stronger”.

He then told the Assembly that a “ten-year plan where we start devolving and building up the federal system would be great” and that “putting in a mayor at the start of that might be a dog’s dinner and won’t work”.

Former Dublin GAA manager Jim Gavin is chairing the Citizens’ Assembly.

He described Bertie Ahern as a “true blue” who is “passion for Dublin is infectious”.

Mr Gavin added that Bertie Ahern’s comments will give the 80 members of the Assembly “a lot of food of thought for the coming months ahead”.

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