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Constituency report: Dáil loses 8 TDs in radical boundary shake-up

The report of the Constituency Commission cuts the number of TDs, with significant boundary reforms.

Ireland's 43 constituencies will become 40 under the new electoral regime.
Ireland's 43 constituencies will become 40 under the new electoral regime.
Image: Constituency Commission

THE LATEST ADJUSTMENTS to the boundaries for Dáil constituencies have been published today – in a wide-ranging adjustment to over a dozen boundaries that sees the Dáil lose eight TDs.

The report of the Constituency Commission outlines significant changes to the boundaries within Dublin and Cork, as well as a radical reform of constituencies in Connacht and Ulster, as well as in the midlands regions.

The overall number of constituencies, which currently stands at 43, is cut to 40 in the changes.

The most straightforward changes come from the merger of paired constituencies within certain counties -with the two constituencies in counties Kerry, Tipperary and Donegal set for merging into county-wide five-seaters.

Ulster and Connacht

In Donegal’s case, nine electoral divisions in the south of the county are transferred into the new Sligo-Leitrim constituency which now contains all of the latter county, as well as some western parts of county Cavan. Cavan-Monaghan, having lost some western territory, goes from 5 seats to 4.

Elsewhere in Connacht, Mayo – the home turf of Enda Kenny, which boasts four FG TDs out of its five – loses the Ballinrobe electoral area into Galway West, and falls from five seats to four. Galway West remains a five-seater having taken on this extra part of Mayo.

Galway East loses some of its territory west of the Shannon into a new Roscommon-Galway area, with both constituencies being 3-seaters.

Capital change

Dublin’s constituencies undergo some of the most radical changes, with Dublin North gaining the Swords and Kilsallaghan areas, as well as some ground from Dublin North-East, as it becomes a new five-seater called Dublin Fingal.

Dublin Central loses some territory to Dublin West and to Dublin North-West, losing one seat to become a three-seater, with Dublin West remaining a four-seater as a result of its expanded territory, and Dublin North-West retaining its 3 TDs.

The reduced Dublin North-East and Dublin North-Central are merged into a new five-seater called Dublin Bay North, while Dublin South-East will take on the new name of Dublin Bay South – and retains its 4 TDs – as it absorbs some of both Dublin South and Dublin South Central.

Dublin South suffers the most drastic loss south of the Liffey, as it goes from 5 TDs to 3 and gets renamed ‘Dublin Rathdown’ – with other parts of its territory being lost to Dublin South-West, which becomes a 5-seater as a result of its growing population. Dublin South-Central loses one seat, from 5 to 4.

The Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown council area will now be served by two constituencies, the new three-seat Dublin Rathdown, and the four-seat Dún Laoghaire – the home of Labour leader Eamon Gilmore – which also gains small parts of the former Dublin South.

The map below – which you can click here to download in a high-resolution PDF – shows the new constituency layout in Dublin:

Kerry, Limerick and Cork

There are significant changes proposed in Munster, too. The entire county of Kerry will now be one five-seater, returning the western part of Limerick which joins with the rest of the non-city area to remain a three-seater. Limerick City, which takes on parts of the county constituency, remains a four-seater.

In Cork, some territory is moved from Cork North-Central to Cork North-West, undoing the transfers in 2009, and keeping the latter as a three-seat area.

Cork North-Central, in turn, takes some territory from Cork South-Central – breaching the natural boundary of the River Lee – to retain its own four seats, with Cork South-Central – the home turf of FF pair Micheál Martin and Michael McGrath – losing one of its five representatives to become a four-seater as a result.

Cork East (four seats) and Cork South-West (three seats) remain unchanged.

Munster and Leinster

Tipperary’s two constituencies are also merged into a single five-seater, with the former Tipperary South returning some parts of Waterford as teh latter county is restored to its county boundaries and retains its four seats.

However, a significant chunk of north-west Tipperary – just north of Nenagh – will cross the provincial boundary and become part of a new three-seat Offaly constituency, as the former Laois-Offaly (five) splits into two three-seat areas.

The new Laois area in some parts of Kildare South, which remains a three-seater thanks to a small adjustment within the county which results in some central areas moving from Kildare North to Kildare South. Kildare North remains a four-seater.

The two Meath and Louth constituencies – the latter being home to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams – are unchanged, as is the five-seat Carlow Kilkenny area represented by environment minister Phil Hogan, and the two five-seaters in Wicklow and Wexford.

No change in Europe

The commission also has authority over the European Parliament constituencies, but has recommended no change there – with four three-seaters representing Dublin, Munster, most of Leinster, and Connacht-Ulster including the remainder of Leinster.

The changes will not take immediate effect, however – a new Electoral Act is required to define the constituency boundaries, and the amendments will only kick in when the next elections take place.

In full: The full report of the Constituency Commission (PDF)

Read: ‘Swords question’ dominates submissions on Dáil boundary changes

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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