Dublin City Council

From Academic Kids

Dublin City Council refers to two different entities.

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Dublin City Shield prior to most recent redesign
  • Since 1 January 2002 it is the name which applies both to the assembly and to the whole system of Dublin government formerly called Dublin Corporation.
Contents

The Assembly

Under the Municipal Corporation Reform (Ireland) Act of 1840, the previous bicameral assembly of a House of Aldermen and a House of Sheriffs and Commons was replaced by a unicameral assembly. The new name Dublin City Council was coined for the unicameral assembly. It was presided over by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the first citizen of the city, an office which had existed since 1665. The first City Council was elected in October 1841, and Daniel O'Connell became the first Lord Mayor under the new system.

The Corporation becomes the Council

The Civic Officeshome of the executive & administrative arm of Dublin City Council.
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The Civic Offices
home of the executive & administrative arm of Dublin City Council.

At the start of the 21st century the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Noel Dempsey controversially reformed Irish local government. Among the changes were the abolition of the ancient city corporations. All underwent a name-change, with Dublin Corporation assuming the name previously belonging to its assembly. To coincide with its name change, the City Council adopted a new logo and brand identity, based on a simplified version of the ancient "three castles" symbol.

Structures of City Government

Irish cities do not possess one single chief executive. Instead power is split between the council and an appointed executive official known as the Manager.

City Manager

The Dublin City Manager is the key executive in the council. He presides over its staff of 6,200. The City Manager and the city's executive and administrative staff are based in the Civic Offices on Wood Quay.

The Lord Mayor

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The Mansion House
residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin performs two distinct functions. He or she is

  • chair of the Council;
  • symbolic and ceremonial head of the city government.

The scale of the actual power exercised by the Lord Mayor depends on the personality of the holder of the office. While longterm mayor Alfie Byrne was able by force of personality and reputation to influence and shape the development of the city, some other Lords Mayor have had little impact other than chairing the City Council. In 2002 it was suggested that the Lord Mayoralty should become a directly elected office. However that plan was abandoned and the mayor continues to be elected annually by the City Councillors.

The Lord Mayor's official residence is the Mansion House.

Dublin City Council

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Dublincityhall.jpg
Dublin City Hall
headquarters of the legislative and policy arm of Dublin City Council

While also referring to the overall city government, Dublin City Council also refers to the city assembly. That assembly is made up of 52 members. Members are elected using Proportional Representation using the Single Transferable Vote, from multi-member wards. The party or group of parties which win the majority of seats control the City Council agenda, deciding who sits on what committee, what policies are followed, and who becomes the Lord Mayor.

The City Council meets in plenary session on the first Monday of every month in Dublin City Hall.

One of the Council's most important roles is that of passing an annual budget. Should any Irish council fail to pass a budget within the allotted time, the Minister for the Environment is empowered to abolish it and grant its powers to a commissioner until the next scheduled council elections.

Current party strengths on the Council

Following the Irish local elections, 2004 the Council was made up of the following:

Following the election, Labour, Fine Gael, and the Greens, holding exactly half of the Council seats, formed a "Democratic Alliance" and agreed on a broad policy programme for the new Council term, dubbed the Democratic Charter for Dublin. A side-deal with the Progressive Democrat member allowed this grouping to elect Michael Conaghan of Labour as Lord Mayor. As the Lord Mayor enjoys the casting vote in Council, this effectively gave the grouping majority control of the chamber.

Name usage

Though the 2001 Act abolished the name Dublin Corporation the name is still widely used in preference to Dublin City Council, as is the title Alderman previously held by those who topped the poll individual wards and which was also supposedly to have disappeared under the Act.


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