Friday 27th January 2023 – The Chairman of the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly, Jim Gavin, has presented the Assembly’s final report and its recommendations for a powerful new mayor to the Taoiseach and the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The report reflects the work of the 80 member Assembly that sat from April-October last year to consider the type of directly elected mayor most appropriate for Dublin and the local government structures to support it.
Over that time Assembly members were addressed by a range of local government experts, political scientists, international mayors from cities equivalent in size and scale to Dublin, serving and former politicians, and the CEOs of the four Dublin local authorities among others.
At the end of this process members voted in favour of a powerful new Mayor with wide-ranging powers and responsibilities similar to other major international cities.
The final report recommends that responsibility for 15 specific areas should be devolved immediately to the new mayor, including housing, homelessness, community healthcare, transport, the environment and emergency services. Six other areas including Policing, Water, and Education were recommended to be devolved after 5-10 years.
The report will now be considered by Government and its recommendations passed to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further consideration, in a similar manner to previous Citizens’ Assemblies.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I thank Jim Gavin and all the members of the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly for the time and energy they gave to the process and the real love they displayed for our capital city region. Jim has been an excellent Chair, bringing to the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly the same sense of purpose, desire, and work ethic that he displayed during his time as a player and manager with the Dublin senior football team.
“The Citizens’ Assembly truly was ‘An Tionól Saoranach’ – a Gathering of Free People. As a Dubliner born and bred, I share the desire of the members to improve how our city and county is run and managed in a manner fitting for the modern, dynamic, liveable, and diverse city that it is today. These recommendations contain many interesting and far-reaching proposals and I look forward to discussing the report’s recommendations with my colleagues in Government and the Oireachtas.
“I believe in local government and regional autonomy with decisions being made as close to the people as possible, and more democratically. Ireland is a small country and it makes sense to centralise much of what we do. However, we are far more centralised than we need to be. That should change and this report helps to point the way forward. It will now be considered by the Government and Oireachtas so that we can issue a reasoned response to the recommendations later this year.”
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD warmly welcomed the publication of the report of the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly: “The citizens of Dublin can be immensely proud of their fellow citizens who were members of this Assembly: they have set out in their report an ambitious and exciting vision for the future governance of their city”, said the Minister. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in Government and in the Oireachtas as we consider how best to implement the Assembly’s recommendations”, he added.
The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell TD said “Under the considered guidance of Jim Gavin, the members approached their work on the Assembly with huge enthusiasm and energy. Their final report shows the rich discussions the Assembly members had on this complex subject matter, as well as the forward looking ideas they shared. I very much look forward to exploring further these significant recommendations for reform of local government in Dublin”.
Speaking as he presented the final report to the Taoiseach, the Chairman of the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly, Jim Gavin, said: “It was one of the great privileges of my life to be asked to Chair the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly and it is with considerable pride that I formally hand over this report and the final recommendations to the Taoiseach. I do so on behalf of all the members of the Assembly who gave up their time and their weekends for a period of six months.
Their hard work allied with their passion and commitment for making Dublin the best possible place to live, work, and raise a family is demonstrated in this report. We owe them a huge amount and I wish to thank them sincerely. I want also to thank the Taoiseach, the Government, and his predecessor Micheál Martin for giving me the opportunity to Chair the Dublin Citizens’ Assembly. I look forward to engaging with the Houses of Oireachtas on the timely implementation of the recommendations.”
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