Constituency Review Submission from Breda Fitzpatrick
Submission ID: S397
We have an excellent ratio of T.D.s to citizens in this country which brings huge benefits to our political system. This is achieved by the fact that people actually know at least some of their T.D.s and therefore relate to them as people who have their best interests at heart. It is also helped by the fact that county boundaries feature in constituencies and that county allegiances run so deep in Ireland. This love of county is found not only in sporting and GAA club contexts but is an all-encompassing aspect of belonging in Ireland – people interviewed for any enterprise, or Irish people making contact from abroad will always allude to their native county with pride.
So I think constituency boundaries should, where at all possible, correspond to county boundaries. The perceived benefit of moving small sections of one county into another so that a more equitable numerical distribution may be achieved is a false perception. Even when population has increased in an area it is unlikely to adversely affect the ability of the T.D. to look after his/her constituents. If the population growth within a county is sufficient then by all means create an extra seat.
Furthermore there is not an immediate or instant need to adjust seat numbers for every election. Surely numbers could be reviewed every 15 or 20 years to see if population changes required more or fewer seats. As things stand people often have not had enough time to establish a relationship with their local representative when they may suddenly and unceremoniously be placed in another constituency for the next election.
Therefore I believe electoral areas for national elections should correspond to counties (or divisions of a county in the case of a county with a very large population) where at all possible, and that population reviews should happen no more frequently than every 15 years. If these two changes require a change of legislation to adjust the numerical requirements that are currently enshrined in law let that be done promptly.
Is mise le meas,