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Three-seat constituencies are mutation of electoral system - Morgan

3 February, 2004

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the European Parliament Elections (Amendment) Bill 2003, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. called on the government to stop mutating the PRSTV system through the creation of three seat constituencies. Deputy Morgan proposed that that the island Ireland be considered as one EU constituency electing members under a closed PR list system.

Deputy Morgan said: "The criteria for a just electoral system should allow for the election of a true representation of all the groups in society. The bill before the House by mutating the PRSTV system through the creation of 3 seat constituencies does not achieve this goal.

"The steady growth in the number of three seat constituencies at both Dáil and EU level is in contradiction to the original intention and the main purpose of PRSTV system. When originally developed the PR system with multi-seat constituencies was envisaged as a positive system of accommodating minorities. The PRSTV system has been diluted substantially through the selective redrawing of constituency boundaries such as that contained in this Bill and the reduction in constituency size in terms of members elected from nine and seven seat constituencies to five-, four- and three-seaters."

Deputy Morgan went on to outline the primary proposals contained in a comprehensive submission which Sinn Féin made to the Constituencies Commission in relation to the Constituencies for the European Parliamentary elections.

"Sinn Féin is proposing the whole island be considered as one EU constituency electing members under a closed PR list system. This would be the most proportional outcome possible and could help ensure the other already outlined objectives of fair electoral systems such as reducing the barriers to smaller parties, maximising electoral participation while ensuring parliamentary diversity. We would for the first time have a system where vote share translates equitably into seat shares for the whole island."

Deputy Morgan concluded by outlining Sinn Fein's support for the ending of the dual mandate between the EU and the Dáil. He said:

"Sinn Féin supported the ending of the Dual mandate between local government and the Dáil. We also support the ending of the dual mandate between Leinster House and the European Parliament. Both parliaments will be better served by the separation of the positions of T.D. and MEPS. It will allow elected members to devote their full attention to one elected body and it will facilitate better governance at Dáil and European levels. However the ending of this dual mandate should be brought about immediately and not be delayed until after the next Dáil election." ENDS

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