ONE of the people widely tipped to seek a nomination to run for the election of Dublin's first directly elected mayor has pulled out of the race – before it even begins.

Eibhlin Byrne, the former Fianna Fáil lord mayor of Dublin, has indicated that she will not be putting her name forward for the historic election this autumn.

Byrne, who has been given 14/1 odds by bookmakers of becoming the city's first directly elected mayor, revealed her intentions in a speech given to the AGM of the Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) last Thursday.

She was also critical of minister for the environment John Gormley's proposals to create the new mayoral position without wider political reform at local government level.

"A directly elected mayor is, in my opinion, a good idea whose time has not yet come. This is an office which should not be bound up in the current style of politics which has been rejected by so many. It needs to stand for something new," she said. "This mayoralty needs to be part and parcel of reform. Local government needs root-and-branch reform – that is not envisaged in current legislation.

"Radical change in local government would demonstrate serious political commitment to the new Ireland and could deliver for Dublin a model that would make our economic and social development truly sustainable. Are we capable of meeting the challenge of necessary change? In terms of politics at this time it would seem to me that politically we are not."

Byrne believes that a narrow debate focused on the new mayoral office will only pose a distraction at a time when the city is in crisis, and that there needs to be a Dublin agenda at national level.

"I believe that Dublin needs to unite around the city's needs rather than divide along political lines about who should be the directly elected mayor," she said. "For this reason I shall not be putting my name forward as a candidate for election in the autumn."

DCBA chairman David McCormick also criticised the new office of mayor. He said the proposal "still needs much clarification and clear thinking". The Sunday Tribune understands there is a groundswell of resentment among the business community about Gormley's proposal in its current form.

Labour's Ruairi Quinn is the 5/2 favourite with bookmaker Paddy Power to be Dublin's first elected mayor, with Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell at 3/1 – both well ahead of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who is now a 20/1 outsider.