Constituency Review Submission from Anne Lucey
Submission ID: S20
|Sent:||Monday 27 March 2023 17:41|
|Subject:||Fwd: Kerry, Dail Constituency|
To Whom it May Concern
This submission is in relation to the Dail Constituency of Kerry.
The county has been one constituency since 2016. Previously, it was two and for a while part of west Limerick was included with the then Kerry North.
Kerry is a huge constituency made up of three peninsulas, a number of mountain ranges and distinct coastal districts. It contains two Gaeltachts, one in the west and the other in the southwest and is closely bordered by a third Gaeltacht, that of Muskerry to the southeast. In terms of rivers alone, there are 6,446 kms, almost ten percent of the total river length of the State. End to end, it takes well over two hours to drive Kerry and across its very many bridges and poor roads – a feat I undertake regularly as part of my work.
The county has poor road infrastructure and minimal public transport. Only the narrow corridor between Killarney and Tralee (as well as Rathmore village, if you will, to the east of Killarney) are connected with any kind of rail system.
The north and the south have distinct histories and geographies and they are very different economies. The south of Kerry is more naturally part of west Cork and the north inclines towards Limerick in landscape and in economic activity.
The south of the county particularly has lost out in the loss of a seat in the creation of the 2016 five-seater; and this on top of the centralisation that has followed from the 2014 local government changes such that even the local planning offices in Killarney and elsewhere have been taken out and placed into Tralee affects it deeply.
Geographically alone – and I refer to ‘f’ in the terms of reference
1. there shall be regard to geographic considerations including significant physical features and the extent of and the density of population in each constituency
– there is enough reason to increase the number of seats and to once again create two constituencies in Kerry.
But the population has also increased significantly with immigration including temporary immigration and this too should underpin a realignment.
More than anything else, the creeping centralisation with everything from the garda, the hospitals, the council administration and planning office and higher education now all centralised in Tralee means a division has been increased by the creation of the single Dáil constituency.
In effect, a whole section of Kerry has been disenfranchised, it is my strong view. (And there is evidence in this in the protracted south Kerry greenway and other matters along with the feeling of pointlessness and marginality that is leading people in the south especially to have no interest in party politics, such that party candidates are even difficult to find in the main towns of Killarney and Killorglin. Most councillors are independents and a majority of TDs).
Only a return to a more natural two constituencies can arrest this marginalisation and perhaps rectify it.
Yours sincerely, Anne Lucey.