Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Sinn Fein reaches Lord Mayor deal

Kieran Binchy, Fine Gael leader on Dublin City Council, said his party withdrew from coalition talks over "red line" issues

Sinn Fein has struck a power-sharing deal on Dublin City Council which secures it the Lord Mayor role for the 1916 Easter Rising commemorations.

The agreement with Labour, the Green Party and Independents will rotate the top seat at City Hall over the coming five years and commits the executive to tacking the capital's housing crisis.

As expected, former Sinn Fein councillor, now standing as an Independent, Christy Burke was elected the new Lord Mayor and will retain the post until next year.

Senior Irish government partner Fine Gael had earlier pulled out of negotiations to form a coalition on the country's largest local authority citing differences over a potential hike in commercial rates and property taxes.

Fianna Fail ditched attempts to secure an agreement after venting its opposition to any party having a Lord Mayor during 2016.

Micheal Mac Donncha, Sinn Fein's deputy leader on the council, said it will take the position as the city's first citizen for the 2015/2016 term as well as the 2017/2018 term.

"Both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael had the opportunity to be part of this agreement, including the proportional allocation of mayor and deputy mayor positions," he said. "But they chose to pull out."

Mr Mac Donncha claimed Fianna Fail could not overcome prejudice against his party having a Lord Mayor for the Easter Rising commemorations.

People Before Profit, which has five seats on the council, has attacked Sinn Fein for courting "establishment" parties rather than forming a left-wing coalition.

"We do not think that the mass of Sinn Fein voters have any desire to see them form an alliance with Fine Gael , Fianna Fail and Labour," said People Before Profit councillor Brid Smith.

Sinn Fein, with 16 seats, is by far the largest party on the country's biggest local authority, but it is well short of the 32 needed for a majority.

There are 12 Independents, nine Fianna Fail, eight Fine Gael, eight Labour and three Greens on the council.

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