Council Affairs: If MiWadi did Directly Elected Mayors

Limerick County Council Offices in Dooradoyle.

IT’S a guessing game at this stage what some of the yet-to-announce candidates for Limerick’s damp squib of a Directly Elected Mayor (DEM) are playing at.

Names that had been long since linked to the position, like John Moran, former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, and Helen O’Donnell from Team Limerick Clean-Up, are now acting all coy.

“I’m seriously considering it” is the tune they’re both singing. Only a few months out, ye may stop thinking and start making shapes.

At least with the Green Party’s Brian Leddin there’s been no messing about and he’s come straight out and declared his interest. People Before Profit too put their hat in the ring on Monday with Ruairí Fahy.

If the parade of shrinking violets don’t step up off their perch at some point, they may as well be handing it to the boys. We are well beyond the point of weighing up options. If that’s where we are at just four months out from election day, we’re doomed, I tell you!

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Besides, don’t we want a mayor who knows they want to be mayor?

There’s already a reek off this whole DEM exercise. I haven’t met too many local politicians that are overly enamoured with what’s on the table.

It seemed like a good idea when first mooted, but as parliamentary research has also shown, we aren’t getting the politically suited and booted Directly Elected Mayor that was initially proposed. Instead we are getting a much watered down version in what is now a weaker system of local government than in the past, where all the real power lies in Dublin.

If MiWadi did Directly Elected Mayors, that’s what we will be getting.

The scope for policymaking and actually being instrumental in real change is limited in this new high falutin’ position. As we all know too well, we are living in a highly-centralised Ireland where all the strings are pulled in the Big Smoke.

Right now politicians are sitting back and waiting to see if the Good Ship DEM is going to be torpedoed. A lot of them certainly think it should be and relish the opportunity of watching it go up in smoke.

The lack of power is something they struggle to contend with, and, in pure frustration, believe it’s an accident waiting to happen. It certainly feels that way, or maybe we are all just so severely traumatised by the O’Connell Street Revitalisation Project that we have learned to expect the worst.

As is often the way in the corridors of power in Merchant’s Quay, it is all starting to slowly, but ever so surely, get a tad Shakespearean as men in proverbial tights bide their time and wait for opportunity to strike as the clock ticks down.

And whether it is Leddin, Moran, O’Donnell, Fahy, or Frankie Daly that ends up drinking from this poisoned chalice, be warned – knowing our luck it will all go awry and, as Blackadder once said, “we’ll be back to cavorting druids, death by stoning, and dung for dinner”.