The specific question of introducing an office of directly elected mayor for the Dublin Metropolitan Area is considered in the Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government in the context of other governance issues. A key conclusion in that regard is that such an office should not be simply inserted as a further layer of governance and administration in addition to the current local government structures.
The establishment of an office with more far-reaching powers, functions and budgetary capacity would be likely to require significant changes in existing local government arrangements. The implications in this regard and the changes required at local government level would need to be considered carefully and include issues in regard to the powers, structures and functions of such an office and consequential changes in the powers, structures and functions of local authorities and other relevant bodies, budgetary matters, strategic co-ordination, an elected assembly with oversight and accountability functions, avoidance of duplication, maximisation of efficiency in local government arrangements, avoidance of cost increases and achievement of savings. The Action Programme indicated that a special forum or colloquium of the elected members of Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin County Councils and Dublin City Council would be convened by the Lord Mayor of Dublin to consider the options for local governance in Dublin, including the potential for a directly elected Mayor for a Dublin Metropolitan Area. It is intended that proposals arising from the colloquium will be put for decision through a plebiscite in 2014, which I envisage will be held alongside the local elections. This will provide for suitable democratic debate and consultation on all dimensions of the issue.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin wrote to me recently on the matter and I replied, setting out matters which I consider would need to be addressed by the elected members of the four local authorities, when developing proposals to be put before the electorate in the plebiscite. It will be open to the forum or colloquium to assess the various options for local governance in the Dublin metropolitan area as part of its deliberations. I have asked for a response by the end of the year, in order to allow Government make appropriate decisions on the next steps in the preparation of the plebiscite. I have received no other written submissions in the matter.