Sitting TDs assess re-election chances after losing key areas in constituency review

New calculus for Michael Fitzmaurice, Paul Kehoe, Aindrias Moynihan and Cathal Berry after population shifts

Electoral Commission

Sitting TDs around the country are assessing their chances of re-election after losing key parts of their support bases in the constituency review carried out by An Coimisiún Toghcháin’s, the new Electoral Commission.

The recommended changes to the electoral map for the next General Election will see a number of incumbent TDs lose, in some cases, thousands of votes they secured in 2020 as territory is hived off from their constituencies.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, Fine Gael’s Paul Kehoe, Aindrias Moynihan of Fianna Fáil and Independent TD Cathal Berry are among those weighing up the challenge posed to their re-election hopes.

Mr Fitzmaurice said of his Roscommon-Galway constituency that the review had “chewed it up altogether” with 16,330 people being switched to Galway East.


He said he has not yet analysed the implications but estimated it could cost him 5,000 or 6,000 votes he won last time around.

The part of Co Galway where he lives is to remain in Roscommon-Galway and at present he intends to stay in his current constituency for the next election.

However, Mr Fitzmaurice did not rule out moving constituencies after he examines the changes saying: “You always keep every option open. You look at everything”.

Mr Fitzmaurice said: “I wouldn’t be panicking... you go out and you fight your battle”.

A more important consideration for his political future is whether or not he can get a mooted new rural political party off the ground.

He said: “I won’t be running if we don’t have a rural party for the Dáil as I believe rural Ireland needs it.”

More seats and new constituencies: a first look at the redrawn electoral map

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Fine Gael TD Paul Kehoe is mulling over either staying in his current Wexford constituency which has been reduced to four seats or seeking election in the new three-seat Wicklow-Wexford constituency.

His home parish remains in the Wexford constituency but he drew considerable support – more than 3,000 votes in 2020 – from rural parts of the north county which will move to Wicklow-Wexford.

Mr Kehoe said he is “disappointed” by the review but he is “absolutely not” considering leaving politics.

He is in “no hurry” to make the decision on which constituency he will run in and he will consult with his local party organisation, his family and Fine Gael headquarters.

Fianna Fáil Cork North-West TD Aindrias Moynihan says the loss of Ballincollig – with a population of 20,000 people - to Cork North-Central is “definitely a set-back”.

He reckons he will lose out on the chance to win more than 2,000 votes he secured in 2020.

Fianna Fáil have two sitting TDs in Cork North-West at present. Michael Moynihan is the other one based in the northern part of the three-seat constituency.

Former Fine Gael minister Michael Creed is not running in the next election but the party will have a candidate as will Sinn Féin which currently has no TD in the area.

Mr Moynihan says it will be “difficult” to hold two seats for Fianna Fáil saying: “I’d have one of the more marginal seats in the country” in the wake of the review.

He is not considering moving constituency and points to his record campaigning on Irish language and agriculture issues as well as increased delivery of social housing in the area as reasons he is hopeful he will be re-elected.

Kildare South Independent Cathal Berry picked up a lot of votes in Portarlington in the last general election.

Some 10,510 people in the town and its southern fringes are to be re-united with Laois in the wake of the constituency review.

Mr Berry hasn’t crunched the numbers on the loss of votes he won in 2020 but is optimistic saying they are “likely balanced out by gains elsewhere”.

The former Defence Forces officer intends to run again in Kildare South and said: “The boundary changes were exactly as expected from our point of view, so it’s business as usual”.

Cork East TD Seán Sherlock is perhaps the worst hit by the changes in the review as the Commission has recommended that some 14,400 people in his hometown of Mallow and its surrounds are to be added to the Cork North Central.

Mr Sherlock is considering moving constituency to Cork North-Central the next election but he also told C103 radio last week he is he is grappling with whether or not there is a future for him in politics.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times