London mayor: model for Dublin office

POLITICAL opposition to the controversial new Dublin mayor position is mounting with critics saying the €5m annual cost of funding the role, to be met by the county's four local authorities, is unaffordable.

There is increasing support for a Green Party proposal to suspend the move until the country's finances have improved, while detractors also insist the position is a half-measure devoid of any meaningful power.

Dublin's local authorities, which have already had to slash public services, would take a hit of around €1.25m each in order to fund the office, its critics say.

A motion for an outright rejection of the new office will be called at a January meeting of Dublin City Council.

While the motion will be of little more than symbolic importance given that the council has no influence over the decision, it does reflect mounting tensions and has provoked further debate.

Cllr Kevin Humphreys, the leader of Labour in Dublin City Council, has called for a postponement of the mayoral election, due next year, and proposed that it be put back to 2014 to coincide with the next local elections.

"The Labour Party position on it is very clear at the moment. We support the concept but we don't think it is the right time," he said.

"I think it is a good idea to have a strong voice, but... €5m, which will have to be funded internally across the local authorities, is a significant amount of money at local authority level, particularly when we are having trouble providing services.

"I don't think the public has any stomach for another layer [of management] that will not show any clear cost savings."

Fine Gael expressed concerns at the limited powers associated with the position. Party leader Dr Bill Tormey said: "Fine Gael thinks that the bill will have to be revamped. It's inadequate as it is constituted because it puts in another layer of bureaucracy. An elected mayor of Dublin should be the same as the mayor of New York."