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Varadkar backs London's directly elected mayor model for Dublin

The Taoiseach has said that borough councils should be established directly under a Mayor’s office.

Image: Pignatelli/Euc/Ropi

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR says that Dublin should have a directly elected mayor similar to London or Paris with a single assembly representing the whole city. 

Speaking at the Dublin European Parliament Convention in Clontarf in Dublin this evening, Varadkar said that a directly elected mayor for the capital will “take a little more work” than Waterford, Cork and Limerick, however. 

There have been calls for directly elected mayors in Ireland since the early 2000s. On 24 May, plebiscites will be held in Waterford, Cork and Limerick where voters will decide whether or not they want a mayor with real power to replace the largely ceremonial Lord Mayor roles. 

The future of Dublin’s local government model, however, will fall to a citizen’s assembly which will be held later this year. Dublin is divided between four local authorities with a total of 183 councillors. 

Varadkar has said that a directly elected mayor in Dublin could take over central government functions in the future and has called for smaller borough councils to be established under a mayor’s office. 

“My own view, is that we should adopt the London or Paris model with a single assembly for all of Dublin headed up by a directly elected mayor dealing with issues like planning, transport and housing even taking on functions currently carried out by central government,” Varadkar said this evening. 

“Below that we should have neighbourhood or borough councils dealing with the issues that are truly local covering much smaller areas that people identify with like Lucan, Tallaght, Swords, Clontarf, Dún Laoghaire and Rathmines – to name a few”.

“But that’s just my view, and we’ve much work to do before we can put a thought-out proposal to the people of Dublin to vote on”. 

In London, the Greater London Authority is made up of the mayor’s office – currently led by London mayor Sadiq Khan – and a 25-member London assembly which monitor’s the mayor’s office and the decisions it makes. 

Varadkar also said this evening that the Local Property Tax will not be increased on Fine Gael’s watch, despite property prices rising in Ireland. 

“The vast majority of homeowners won’t see any increase at all,” he said. “It’s simply a case of adjusting the bands upwards to reflect the upward increase in property prices. We’ll talk more about that in the months ahead”. 

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