Increased powers recommended for Dublin mayor

Report reccomends transfer of local authority powers to Dublin mayor

New executive powers including the funding, staff and management decisions of national tourist and transport bodies and the department of the environment should be transferred to an enhanced office of the Dublin mayor, according to a report commissioned by the Irish environment ministry.

The 22-member forum, comprising representatives of the four Dublin local authorities and headed by incumbent Dublin mayor Oisín Quinn, has recommended that the new mayor assume control over a range of areas including transport, refuse management, housing, planning, tourism, economic development, fire services, community and traffic policing. The mayor would also be granted a significant say in national policy decisions affecting Dublin in areas such as water, education and health.

The forum advises that the four local authorities should cede their powers to the city's first citizen who would head a central cabinet to oversee local authority services for all of County Dublin as well as the capital.

If the new office goes ahead it would mean a major shake-up in the way the city and county is managed as well as giving clout to the largely-symbolic role of mayor. It would also mean that a portion of government funding traditionally sanctioned for state agencies with responibility for transport, tourism, industry, arts and public works would be transferred to the mayor, in addition to a transfer of staff.

The recommendations can be accepted or amended by the environment minister Phil Hogan, who has ushered in a raft of reforms since taking office in 2011. Following the minister's assessment, councillors in the four Dublin local authorities will then vote on the creation of the new office in March. If passed, the proposal will be put to Dublin residents in a referendum next summer.

Elected in June, Oisín Quinn is the 344th Lord Mayor of Dublin. The first person to hold that title was Sir Daniel Bellingham in 1665 while the most famous was Irish patriot Daniel O'Connell in 1841. The Mansion House on Dawson Street has been the mayor's official residence since 1715.

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