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11-seat national constituency proposed in EU Parliament redraw submissions

The proposal is one of two radical ideas put forward by Lucinda Creighton but neither are possible under the terms of reference for the Constituency Commission considering the redrawing of Ireland’s European constituency map.

LUCINDA CREIGHTON HAS proposed the creation of a single, all-Ireland European constituency in her submission to the Constituency Commission tasked with redrawing Ireland’s European Parliament map.

The idea is one of two radical proposals which the  TD, who is outside of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, has put forward in her submission though neither come within the terms of reference for the Commission.

The Commission has been tasked with redrawing Ireland’s European constituency map with the number of Ireland’s MEPs being reduced from 12 to 11 following the accession of Croatia to the EU. By law constituencies must have a minimum of three and a maximum of five seats.

Most submissions deal with whether Dublin should be a single, three-seat constituency or include border counties and be expanded to a five-seater. The Commission, due to report at the end of this month, will split Ireland’s constituencies one of two ways – 4-4-3 or 5-3-3.

Three of the four main political parties have all indicated a preference for a 4-3-3 option with Dublin as a single, three-seat constituency and the rest of the State divided into two large four-seat constituencies.

Fianna Fáil was the only major political party not to make a submission to the Commission while Labour’s submission came from its two MEPs Emer Costello and Phil Prendergast.

National list

In her submission Creighton proposes a national list option saying this could be an ‘open list’ whereby voters can indicate a preference for a particular candidate within a party list or else a ‘closed list’ system where the party nominates its own list of candidates.

“The important effect of any list system is the outcome of strict proportionality, with smaller parties guaranteed seats according to their votes,” she says, although the TD claims that the creation of one national constituency would be a drawback.

However, she cites international studies which show that list systems ensure a greater proportion of women and minority candidates elected.

Creighton says that the the legislation and the terms of reference for the Constituency Commission are “highly unsatisfactory” given that Ireland’s MEP numbers are being reduced from 12 to 11.

“Instead of trying to address these changes in a fundamental way, successive governments have remain (sic) wedded to the idea of multi-seat geographical constituencies, which have grown ever greater in size,” she writes.

In another proposal she suggests that there be 11 single-seat constituencies which she says would reduce European Parliament constituencies to a “more manageable size”.

Given that neither of these proposals can be considered under the Commission’s terms of reference Creighton says that under these constraints she would propose a 3-4-4 arrangement with Dublin as a single, three-seat constituency and the rest of the country divided into two four-seat constituencies.

Revealed: Fine Gael’s proposals for redrawing Ireland’s European constituency map

Read: This Fine Gael TD is not ruling out a European Parliament bid next year

More: How will constituencies change now that Ireland’s losing an MEP?

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Hugh O'Connell

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