One of the odder developments within this government has been the performance of Environment minister Phil Hogan, and I say this in a positive way.
From his building-in of tax varying powers in the Local Property Tax (which has the potential to transform local democracy if utilised by councillors) to abolishing town councils and increasing ward sizes, to now announcing a referendum on an elected mayor for Dublin, Hogan’s becoming one of the most reforming and radical local government ministers we’ve ever had.
Who’d have thought it? The devil is, of course, in the detail. An elected mayor with no actual powers over city managers or taxes is of little use, but he’s certainly taking things in an interesting direction. To their credit, both Noel Dempsey and John Gormley have tried before, but neither had the political clout of The Enforcer. Watch this space, I think.