Bertie hints at Lord Mayor’s post

HE ran the country once and now, it seems, Bertie Ahern wants to run the capital.

The former Taoiseach appeared to drop a broad hint last night that he would like to be Lord Mayor of Dublin again — but only when the job has real powers.

Mr Ahern was mayor in 1986, but the position was largely a ceremonial one then and little has changed in the interim.

From 2011, however, the mayor will have real powers and be directly elected by the public if proposals by Environment Minister John Gormley are realised — and Mr Ahern seems to be interested.

“I think it would be a fascinating job for an experienced politician who would understand local government and understand national politics. And not mentioning myself, but I think it would be an excellent job!” he told guests to laughter at a book launch in Dublin.

“I think if you’re going to have a directly elected mayor, it should be for somebody who has a proven record in politics. Otherwise you’ll get somebody just joining up for the craic who won’t know two minutes of politics and be going around acting as Lord Mayor of Dublin making an ass of himself,” he quipped. “My colleagues take note: please put down the amendment.”

Asked if he was seriously interested in the position, he responded: “A Lord Mayor with executive powers would be a very interesting job — that’s all I’d say.”

Mr Gormley wants the Dublin mayor to have substantial powers in the areas of planning, housing, water provision and waste disposal — similar to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The successful applicant would be elected by the public, unlike the current system, where the mayor is appointed on an annual basis by his or her fellow councillors.


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