Directly elected mayor for Dublin could be implemented faster, says Gilliland

Directly Elected Mayor For Dublin Could Be Implemented Faster, Says Gilliland Directly Elected Mayor For Dublin Could Be Implemented Faster, Says Gilliland
Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said the more she is in the role the more she can appreciate what a mayor could do if they were directly elected. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography
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Danielle Walsh Ronan

Dublin should be given the option of a directly elected mayor sooner rather than later, according to the Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland.

Last year, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar indicated that Dubliners can expect to vote on whether they want a directly elected mayor in a plebiscite planned for the same day as the next European and local elections.

Meanwhile, voters in Limerick have already had the opportunity to decide that they will get a directly elected mayor following a vote at the last local elections in 2019.

At present, the role of the Lord Mayor in Dublin is largely ceremonial.

A directly elected mayor for Dublin was included in the Programme for Government. However, the pace at which this is being implemented could be faster, according to the current Mayor.


“The more I’m in this role the more I appreciate what you could do if you were directly elected and if you had more than one year,” the Lord Mayor Dublin said.

“I think as the Tánaiste has indicated that he is going to hold a vote on if Dublin should have a directly elected mayor in the local elections in 2024.

“I think that he should be doing that this year, and we should be electing our directly elected mayor, if that is what the people choose to do, at the next local elections.

“If it’s something you believe in, and you believe people should have a voice in it, why are we waiting another two and a half years?

“I think that’s one of the frustrating things, how long it takes to just decide to do it.

Lack of autonomy

The Lord Mayor also expressed concerns over the lack of autonomy any future mayor who is directly elected may have.

“The directly elected mayor in Limerick, it will be really interesting to see how that pans out,” she said.

“I would have a concern though that unless we change the Local Government Act and give local authorities more power, autonomy, and funding, you may not get the outcome that you want.

“When we talk about directly elected mayors, you’re looking at someone to lead the city and to make decisions around what we do with regard to housing, climate change, permeability in the city or public realm.

“Unless you have a budget to back you, to do that, and unless you can go outside the parameters of national legislation, you may not be able to deliver what the citizens would like you to deliver.

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