Former Irish PM Bertie Ahern

Former Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, may very well be the next Lord Mayor of Dublin, according to Green Party leader, John Gormley.

Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government said on Wednesday that Ahern could very well become the first elected Mayor of Dublin in 2011.

However, Gormley, said Ahern could “face stiff competition” as many good candidates may also want the job.

This will be the first time a Mayor will be elected by the voters. In the past fellow councilors chose the winning candidate who only served one year in office. Although it is not determined yet how long the new system will allow a Mayor to serve for it is estimated to be longer than one year.

The new position would come with a lot more powers such as setting policies on public transport, housing, education and justice.

“It is a position that will carry a lot of power,” Gormley said on Wednesday.

 “We’re reforming local government and for the very first time we’re going to have local government as opposed to local administration.

Gormley said someone “who has got teeth and who can go in there and get he job done,” was needed to carry the job out.

“I’m sure the former Taoiseach is qualified as are other individuals from other parties who would put their names forward.”
 When asked about the new position at the launch of “All Politics is Local: A Guide to Local Elections in Ireland” by Liam Weeks and Aodh Quinlivan in Dublin last week, Ahern said “it would be an excellent job” and he hopes it is “taken seriously,"

“I have only one view on that, I think if you’re going to have a directly-elected mayor it should be for somebody who has a proven record in politics,” said Ahern who served one and a half terms as the Irish leader before stepping down last year due to scandals surrounding his financial dealings when he was Minister for Finance.  

“Otherwise you get somebody just joining up for the craic who won’t know two ends of politics and be going around acting as lord mayor of Dublin, making an ass of themselves and ourselves.”

When asked if he was serious about the position, Ahern said: “A lord mayor with executive powers would be a very interesting job, that’s all I said.”

Details are currently being finalized on the mayoral position.

Said Gormley:  “I think there is going to be huge interest in that particular position. I know the former Taoiseach certainly has his eye on it.”