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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Alamy Stock Photo Ministers Stephen Donnelly and Simon Harris are currently sitting TDs in the redrawn Wicklow constituency.
constituency of death

Dogfight for Wicklow TDs in next general election as constituency becomes 4-seater

Wicklow and Wexford has now been split into three constituencies.

WICKLOW WILL BE a bloodbath in the next general election with five sitting TDs being forced into a dogfight for four seats in the constituency. 

The redrawing of the constituency boundaries by the Electoral Commission today means Wicklow and Wexford has now been split into three constituencies. 

  • Wexford (changes from five-seater to a four-seater)
  • Wicklow (changes from a five-seater to a four-seater)
  • Wicklow/Wexford (new constituency with three seats)

The new constituency of Wicklow/Wexford has taken territory from the south and north of the respective counties.

Wicklow constituency currently has two ministers in the county – Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly and Fine Gael’s Simon Harris.

Both TDs hail from north of the county in Greystones. 

Sinn Fein’s John Brady, from Bray, also north of the county, topped the poll in the last general election with over 17,000 first preference votes.

It is understood that losing Arklow to the new constituency will take away votes from Brady, as the town is typically a Sinn Féin stronghold. Some speculating around 4,000 votes could be lost, however, the TD is expected to be safe in the next election.

Green Party’s Stephen Matthews is also from north of the county, from Bray. 

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore, from Delgany is originally from Wexford, so there were questions about whether she would consider throwing her hat into the race in the new constituency. However, sources indicate that she is happy to stay put where she is.  

Screenshot - 2023-08-30T091125.839

The maths is clear that as it stands, if all sitting TDs decide to fight for their seats in the next general election, all five will be fighting it out for four seats. 

Likewise, for the people of Wexford and its politicians, tinkering with the county boundaries will be a significant change. It too has gone from a five-seater to a four-seater. 

The sitting TDs include Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen, Labour’s Brendan Howlin, Independent TD Verona Murphy, Fianna Fáil’s James Browne and Fine Gael’s Paul Kehoe. 

The changes are good news for Fianna Fáil senator Malcolm Byrne, who lost out in the last election to Verona Murphy. He is based in the new constituency which includes his home of Gorey, where he served as a town councillor previously.

There are concerns among some TDs that creating a new three-seater will only serve the larger parties. 

There is no doubt that Sinn Féin will be running a candidate in the new constituency, but who will be the natural selection is yet to be seen. 

The Electoral Commission, Supreme Court Judge, Ms. Justice Marie Baker stated today that it was limited in the fact that it could not create six-seater constituency in the region.

She said Wicklow-Wexford would have been “easier to manage” had the commission had that option.

Instead, it was pushed back to only create four and three seater constituencies.

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