Some political winners and losers from the boundary changes
Fine Gael backbencher complains about losing 20% of his voters ‘at the stroke of a pen’
Noel Rock: “While it’s obviously a setback, the commission is independent and we have to respect its findings no matter how painful they may be”
A Fine Gael backbencher has complained about losing 20 per cent of his voters “at the stroke of a pen” following the publication of the Constituency Commission report.
Dublin North West TD Noel Rock was reacting to the recommendation that Dublin Central should become a four-seater, taking in population from his constituency and Dublin Bay North.
“While it’s obviously a setback, the commission is independent and we have to respect its findings no matter how painful they may be. I’m disappointed to have lost more than 20 per cent of my voters at the stroke of a pen. It’s difficult but it’s just one of these challenges that I’m determined to meet head on.”
However, the development was described as a “welcome change for me” by Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, who is a Dublin Cental TD.
The commission recommended a population of 12,394 in four electoral divisions from Dublin North West and population of 5,064 in one electoral division from Dublin Bay North be transferred to Dublin Central.
“I can vividly remember the day on which I opened up the last map for the boundary commission report and it is a reminder to all of us that are in political life that your fortunes can sometimes be significantly influenced by things that are beyond your control,” Mr Donohoe said.
Meanwhile, the commission recommended the transfer of population of 1,535 in the electoral division of Glencullen from Dublin Rathdown to Dún Laoghaire.
The development is not likely to be welcomed by Independent Alliance Minister for Transport Shane Ross who represents Dublin Rathdown and recently welcomed the reopening of nearby Stepaside Garda station.
The merging of the constituencies of two three-seaters, Laois and Offaly, to form one five-seater could be bad for Fine Gael or Sinn Féin.
Fine Gael is currently represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan in Laois and Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy in Offaly, and Sinn Féin by Brian Stanley in Laois and Carol Nolan in Offaly. Of the four, Ms Nolan secured the lowest number of votes in 2016.
A potential beneficiary of the changes is Tipperary TD Alan Kelly of Labour, who submitted a petition with 1,400 signatures to the commission. He asked for the part of Co Tipperary currently in the existing Offaly constituency to be returned to his constituency, which the commission has recommended.
However, the Limerick City constituency will include some population from Tipperary. “It’s a double-edged sword. They give on one hand and take away on the other. I’m delighted with what’s coming back but I’m disappointed with what’s gone,” Mr Kelly said.
Independent Alliance Minister of State Finian McGrath expressed disappointment that some of his Dublin Bay North constituency would go to Dublin Central. “I’m also saddened to be losing a lot of voters in that area. They are the people that got me elected in the beginning.”
Minister of State Helen McEntee of Fine Gael could also be considered vulnerable as a population of 3,973 is transferring from Meath East to Cavan-Monaghan.