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Sinn Féin tables motion calling on Government not to implement Constituency Commission recommendations to split Leitrim

4 May, 2004


Sinn Féin has tabled a motion in the Dáil calling on the Government to reject the recommendations of the Constituency Commission to divide County Leitrim between the two proposed new constituencies of Sligo/North Leitrim and Roscommon/South Leitrim.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. said:

"Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to reject the Constituency Commission's recommendations to split Leitrim between 2 constituencies. The Commission should have paid greater attention to Section 6(2)(c) of the Electoral Act 1997 which states "the breaching of County boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable." Sinn Féin does not believe the best interest of the people of Leitrim would be served by the implementation of the Commissions recommendations. Sinn Féin tabled this motion at the request of SF Leitrim County Councillor Martin Kenny who has been to the fore in articulating the widespread opposition to the proposals from the people of Leitrim.

"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 and the reduction in constituency size in terms of members elected from nine and seven seat constituencies to five, four and three seat constituencies. Sinn Féin is advocating a return to larger constituencies, believing that six, seven, nine and even ten-seat constituencies are feasible for our electoral system. This motion which has been tabled by Sinn Féin also calls for the amendment of Section 6(2)(b) of the Electoral Act of 1997 to allow for the formation of six and seven seat constituencies." ENDS

Dáil Motion

"That Dáil Éireann

- Notes the recommendations of the Constituency Commission published in January 2004 to divide County Leitrim between the two proposed new constituencies of Sligo/North Leitrim and Roscommon/South Leitrim.

- Notes Section 6(2)(c) of the Electoral Act 1997 which states "the breaching of County boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable".

- Recognises that larger constituency size adds the quality of extra proportionality to the electoral system as a whole.

Calls on the Government to:

- reject the findings of the Constituency Commission in relation to County Leitrim

- amend Section 6(2)(b) of the Electoral Act of 1997 to allow for the formation of six and seven seat constituencies

- reconvene the Constituency Commission to consider the possibility of establishing one six seat constituency comprising the three counties of Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon." - Arthur Morgan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sean Crowe, Martin Ferris, Aengus Ó Snodaigh

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