Constituency Review Submission from Cllr. Barbara-Anne Murphy
Cllr. Barbara-Anne Murphy
Submission ID: S117
Wexford, National Issues
To whom it may concern:
As you contemplate re drawing the boundaries of our Dáil Constituencies, I ask that you not only take note of the population size of each District Electoral Division, but that you primarily take into consideration the links between the citizen and the Sate, the voter and their T.D.’s, the resident and their elected representatives and the importance of a continued relationship between them.
Local people, their feelings, linkages and ‘sense of place’ are often neglected when Boundary Commissions are busy trying to even up numbers across a spread of the wider Dáil Constituencies.
The result is often voter disengagement as he or she feels disconnected from a political process where they do not recognise links with their new Dáil Constituency, the politicians or candidates running for election.
We live in a representative democracy – public representatives need input from interested and informed citizens. This does not happen where DED’s are constantly shifted from one Dáil Constituency to another. People become disaffected, disengaged, and disconnected from electoral politics. Lack of continuity between Dáil representatives and the people living in an area leads to public dissatisfaction with the process, and this is not a how strong, positive voter engagement and interest is nurtured and encouraged.
Where this happens, representation is splintered, with many voters having no link with their T.D.’s, or indeed any Public Representatives. in the Constituency in which they are placed following successive Boundary Commission reviews.
Voters feel disenfranchised. They are so far removed from the Dáil Constituency in which they are now placed that they don’t even recognise any of the candidates on the ballot paper if and when they go to vote.
I ask you to take particular care when drawing boundaries of areas where towns are already divided by County Boundaries. Please do not splinter these areas further as such towns (Bunclody, on the Wexford / Carlow border for example) need the support of strong Dáil representation to allow them to grow and prosper to create energetic communities, strong local leadership and vibrant local economies, not further splintering of its natural hinterland.
From 1960 to 1981, Bunclody (DED Newtownbarry) and part of its hinterland of the District Electoral Divisions of Kilrush, Kiltealy, Moyacomb, Rossard, St. Mary’s, Tombrack and Ballybeg were moved from the Dáil Constituency of Wexford to the Dáil Constituency of Carlow Kilkenny. This had a devastating effect on our area, economically, socially, and politically (in the community / civic sense), from which we have taken a long time to recover.
Bunclody is in the natural sphere of influence of Enniscorthy, from our Municipal District to our Chamber of Commerce affiliation to our preferred town for shopping and professional services not available in Bunclody. Please do not undo the work of the last 40 plus years by moving this area from the Wexford Dáil Constituency as the negative impact would take generations to recover from.
As you carry out your wok, please remember the effect your decisions will have on the people on the ground, and do not move a townland or DED from one Dáil Constituency to another to simply balance your boundaries. For you it is simply drawing lines on a map, but you need to remember that your actions effect the lives of citizens and have lasting consequences. Please take this into account when making your deliberations.
There should be no area or voter feeling left behind once your process is concluded.
I hope you take my comments into consideration.
Member of Wexford County Council