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Sinn Féin welcomes new by-election rule

30 June, 2011 - by Brian Stanley TD

Speaking on the publication of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2011 today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Brian Stanley TD stated that while Sinn Féin welcomes the proposed provisions for the holding of by-elections in the Bill, there were serious problems also contained in it.

The Laois-Offaly TD said;

“The new provision in the Bill that states that a by-election must be held within six months is long overdue. This will put a stop to the practice of Governments not holding by-elections because of the fear that they will lose a seat.

“It is an affront to democracy to leave people unrepresented for months on end in that manner. This provision resulted from the fact a Sinn Féin TD had to take a court challenge in order to for a by-election to be held.

“However, we must take serious issue with the proposal to cut the number of TDs from the current 166 to a figure between 152 and a 160. In the absence of a massive overhaul and strengthening of local government structures, it makes absolutely no sense to reduce the number of TDs sitting in the Dáil. If this is a money-saving proposal we would prefer that the pay of TDs was reduced rather than the actual number of TDs.

“Furthermore, the hands of the Constituency Commission are still tied in that they cannot recommend anything more than three, four, or five seat constituencies. We are calling for proportional representation to be strengthened through the introduction of larger multi-seat constituencies.

“Increasing the number of seats per constituency would ensure a much more accurate representation of the public’s voting intentions based on their percentage vote, in contrast to the current system that favours the largest parties, especially in three-seat and four-seat constituencies.”


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