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Constituency Commission fail to address changing demographics of the state

23 October, 2007


Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has described this afternoons report from the Constituency Commission as a missed opportunity. Deputy Ferris said 'The Commission didn't address the changing demographics of the state, they didn't address the problems created as a result of the breaking down of county boundaries and critically they did not bring forward proposals to ensure fairer representation.'

Deputy Ferris said:

"This afternoon's report from the Constituency Commission in relation to Dáil boundaries is a missed opportunity. Historically such commissions have tinkered at the edges rather than come up with lasting solutions and they continued with this approach once again today.

"The Commission didn't address the changing demographics of the state, they didn't address the problems created by the breaking down of country boundaries and critically they did not ensure fairer representation. The single biggest issue raised with the Commission was in relation to County Leitrim and it was a mistake that the concerns of the people of this county were completely ignored.

"There are far too many three and four seat constituencies and the law needs to be changed to allow for bigger constituencies. Sinn Féin has proposed legislative changes to allow for six -seater constituencies, as was originally envisaged when the voting system was introduced. The restrictive legislation that permits only three, four and five seat constituencies has led to the constant need to readjust boundaries as they exceed the conditions laid down.

"In relation to the European Union, the decision to maintain the Dublin EU boundary but with one less seat is a very short sighted decision which will leave Dublin massively underrepresented at EU level. Dublin's population is still growing and today's decision will be immediately obsolete. This entire problem was caused as a result of the failure of the Irish government to fight to maintain this State's level of representation in an enlarged European Union.

"The government should have stood up for our national interests. And a much better option for the Constituency Commission would have been to create three four seat constituencies. This would have involved substantial redrawing of the existing boundaries but would have ensured much fairer representation." ENDS

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