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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019
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Gogarty slams Labour moves to delay Dublin Mayor vote

Paul Gogarty slams a defeated Labour Party move that would have seen the directly-elected mayor be delayed until 2014.

Image: Gill Bland via Flickr

THE LABOUR PARTY has lost a Dáil vote hoping to delay the introduction of a new directly-elected mayor for Dublin until 2014 – a full four years after the first election was intended to be held.

Cork South Central deputy Ciarán Lynch moved an amendment to a proposal having the Bill discussed on the Dáil today, hoping to have further talks on the Green Party’s Bill delayed for two years.

The amendment wanted the Bill to be officially shelved until December 2, 2012, arguing that “the potential cost of the new position, and of the new Regional Authority for Dublin, and the staffing levels that will be required to facilitate the Authority and the Mayor” are prohibitive “given the serious economic crisis facing the country.”

The unamended motion, however, was passed by 72 votes to 65, with Dublin Central independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan supporting the government.

The amendment was attacked by the Greens’ Paul Gogarty, who said the move was “gutless and short-sighted”, saying in a statement that “on the issue of political reform, [Labour] are as conservative and unimaginative as their Fine Gael counterparts.

“Some of Labour’s Dublin TD’s and representatives have previously expressed their support for a directly elected mayor for the Capital,” he continued. I want to know whether they actually support the delay proposed by their Cork colleague Ciarán Lynch, or whether they were just towing the party line and playing politics.”

The Green Party had originally pledged to have the Bill enacted in time for a direct election at some point in 2010, but under the terms of the motion the first election of a new directly-elected mayor would not be held until 2014, alongside the scheduled  and European elections.

Labour has previously supported the idea of introducing a directly-elected mayor, which was including by the Greens in the programmes for government in 2007 and 2009.

The Greens had pledged to enact the Bill before the general election is called in the spring. The Bill has now been referred to committee stage.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce today appealed that the new mayor be given greater powers, saying the current legislation “does not give the office the powers it requires to drive efficiencies in Local Government and promoting the economic interests of the city region”.

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Gavan Reilly

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