The Electoral Commission has recommended granting an extra seat to the Midlands-North-West constituency for the next European Parliament, with counties Laois and Offaly transferring from the South constituency.
Ireland will elect 14 MEPs to the parliament next June, an increase from 13 under the changes, following a European Council decision last September to allocate an extra MEP to Ireland.
The Electoral Commission’s recommendations, published on Monday, follow a month-long public consultation with submissions received from political parties, elected representatives and interested individuals.
The recommendations meet the statutory requirements set down that there should be reasonable equality of representation between constituencies; that each constituency must have between three and five seats; that breaches of county boundaries should be avoided; and that continuity should where possible be maintained.
The recommended European Parliament constituencies are now: Dublin (four seats), Midlands-North-West (five seats) and South (five seats).
The chairwoman of the Electoral Commission, Supreme Court judge Ms Justice Marie Baker, said: “In late September a long-awaited EU decision allocated an additional 14th MEP seat to Ireland, stemming from our growing population and EU rules on the European Parliament’s composition.
“Our recommendation is to allocate this additional seat to the Midlands-North West constituency, making it a five-seater and bringing in the counties of Offaly and Laois into that constituency from the South. The Dublin constituency remains unchanged.
“As Ireland’s independent electoral commission, we have worked quickly to ensure this recommendation is brought forward ahead of the statutory schedule. It is now for the Oireachtas to consider and legislate appropriately.”