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Constituency Commission Report missed opportunity - Ferris

24 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has reiterated that yesterdays report from the Constituency Commission can only be described as a missed opportunity.  Deputy Ferris said ‘The Commission has not addressed the changing demographics of the state, they have not addressed the problems created as a result of the breaking down of county boundaries and critically they have not brought forward proposals to ensure fairer representation.’


Deputy Ferris said, “Yesterday’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 yet again this approach has been applied again.


“The Commission has not addressed the changing demographics of the state, nor the problems created by the breaking down of country boundaries. Most critically they have not ensured fairer representation for the people of Ireland. The Commission’s reluctance to be bold in its introduction of the necessary changes to deliver fair representation now leaves us with a continuing political monopoly.


“The single biggest issue raised with the Commission was in relation to CountyLeitrim and it is wrong that the concerns of the people of this county have been completely ignored.


“There are far too many three and four seat constituencies and the law must to be changed to allow for bigger constituencies. This is a key issue for the electoral system going forward and must be addressed. 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.


“Yet again government has shirked from promoting the national interest on the European stage.


“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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