John Gormley has finally discovered the ultimate irony of sucessive governments neutering of local government with the carry-on over the Poolbeg incinerator. Just picture the scene: The minister for local government, responsible for appointing the city manager of Dublin, to enforce govt policy against the elected members of the city council, is now engaged in a legal battle with that self same city manager because he is trying to implement a policy against the wishes of the council for whom he has been given specific powers by the minister’s office to overrule.
In fairness, it’s not Gormley’s fault. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour have all conspired to keep the status quo because A) They don’t trust their own councillors to make good decisions, and B) In a very Irish way, their own councillors oppose been given the powers because they then will be blamed for (the cheek!) using them. That’s not Gormley’s fault.
However, if the upcoming Dublin Mayor does not have the power to bend the county managers to his democratic will, that will be John Gormley’s fault, and he could find himself being humiliated by a newly elected Dublin Mayor demanding more powers, and JG finding himself in the surreal situation of defending the overcentralised political system he went into politics to change. Shades of minister Jim Hacker rejecting a petition started by a young MP named, eh, Jim Hacker?