I note our amendments have been ruled out of order because they are not relevant to the subject matter of the Bill. We wanted the amendments to be within the scope of the Bill which is why we proposed a change in the Title of the Bill to hold a plebiscite on whether an office of a directly elected mayor with authority for the Dublin metropolitan area should be established. On that basis we oppose section 1.
Dublin has four mayors, none of whom has real powers. The offices are rotated between the dominant political parties. I am probably one of the last of the Members of the Seanad to formally welcome the first citizen of Dublin, Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn. Cuirim fáilte roimh an Ardmhéara.
The rationale for the office of a directly-elected mayor relates to the need for strong coherent local government and accountability for the Dublin metropolitan area. Such an office is critical to the lives and well-being of Dubliners and Ireland as a whole. There are currently four Dublin local authorities and a multiplicity of national and State agencies. The system of governance for this city is not sufficiently robust to make strong, clear and accountable decisions as required by a modern city region. In particular, not only do many members of the public not have a clear sense of who is responsible for many of the decisions that affect the way the city and county is run, many councillors are at a remove from these decisions, particularly in areas such as transport. Clear, strong, robust and accountable leadership is needed-----