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Three Dublin councils vote on a directly-elected mayor tomorrow. Here's how it's looking..

Councillors are voting on whether to put the issue to the people on 23 May. Any of the three remaining councils can veto the move…

Image: Paul Seheult/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

THE THREE REMAINING councils in Dublin have their say today on whether a plebiscite should be held on whether the capital should have a directly elected mayor.

Dublin City Council gave its overwhelming backing to the move in a vote last Monday — but if any of the other local authorities vote against the plan, the issue’s dead in the water for now.

We should know the full picture by midnight tomorrow at the latest. The last council meeting of the day — at Dun Laoghaire Rathdown — should be wrapped up by then.

However, the issue could be decided well before then — Fingal County Council meets for its vote at 3.30pm.

Fingal

The north Dublin authority had been expected to vote against the county-wide referendum. However, the overwhelming backing given to the move by the city council last Monday looks to have shored up a little more support for the proposal.

A canvas of the council carried out by The Irish Times earlier this week found that at least seven of the 12 councillors needed to pass the vote now planned to vote yes, with many of the remaining members still yet to declare their hand.

Fine Gael Mayor of Fingal Kieran Dennison has been leading the campaign against the plebiscite.

He argues that the proposals on the issue from Environment Minister Phil Hogan have not included costings on the proposed new office, “the cabinet or the assembly which would be added on top of an already expanding, costly and unwieldy local government system in our capital city and county”.

Cian O’Callaghan, now and Independent but formerly a Labour mayor of the authority argues “it would be shameful if as few as 12 or 13 Fingal councillors prevent a city of one million from deciding whether or not it should have a directly elected mayor”.

He says there’s “a very strong case that Dublin as a region would benefit from the office”.

Dublin South

Councillors in Dublin South meet at the same time this afternoon for their vote. The feeling in the council is the motion will pass.

According to Labour Deputy Mayor Eamon Tuffey:

It wasn’t on the council agenda for the 2009 election, so I don’t have a mandate to vote one way or another.

However, I don’t have a mandate to deny the people of Dublin a plebiscite.

Tuffey said the process of deciding whether or not to hold a county-wide vote was “a strange one”.

If the other three councils vote in favour, but Fingal votes against by one vote, the vote falls.
It is a strange way to finalise a process like that. Why wasn’t it a vote of all councillors at once?

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

If it’s a ‘yes’ from the other two councils tomorrow, there’ll be massive pressure on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown councillors to also back the proposal.

Their meeting’s been scheduled for 8pm, as a number of council members have to attend an unrelated meeting in Tallaght earlier in the evening.

While there’s an expectation that the vote will pass, DLR Mayor Carrie Smyth (L) told TheJournal.ie that the issue was still “hard to call”.

“I’m hoping the city council vote will have sent a good message to the other three local authorities,” Smyth said.

I’m hoping the councillors will support it.

If it’s a ‘yes’ from all three local authorities today, Dubliners will have their say on the issue on the same day as the local and European elections on 23 May.

Revealed: Here are the powers a directly-elected Dublin mayor could have

Read: Hogan on Dublin mayor plan: ‘I might be 6′ 5” but I’m not going to lean in any direction’>

Related: Referendum on directly-elected Dublin mayor could be held in May

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