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Constituency Review Submission from Cllr John Mullen

Cllr John Mullen

Submission ID: S361

Date

09/05/2023

Constituency

Wicklow

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A Chara

In relation to the current 5 seat Dáil Constituency of Wicklow I want to bring the Boundary Commissions attention to the terms of reference under which you operate in particular 2.e there shall be regard to geographic considerations including significant physical features and the extent of and the density of population in each constituency; and
f. subject to the above matters, the Commission shall endeavour to maintain continuity in relation to the arrangement of constituencies.

The General Election of 2020 was the first election where the County of Wicklow consisted of the Municipal Districts of Bray, Greystones, Wicklow, Arklow and Baltinglass. The area of East Carlow had been returned to the Carlow/Kilkenny Dáil constituency as per the County Boundary guidelines.

However the result of this decision combined with significant population growth in North Wicklow effectively disenfranchised large areas of County Wicklow with all 5 TD’s being resident from the 2 Municipal Districts of Bray and Greystones which are in North Wicklow and adjacent to Dublin.

As a local Councillor from the Baltinglass Municipal District I can confirm that the socio-economic profile of North Wicklow and of South Wicklow are entirely different. The Municipal District areas of Baltinglass, Wicklow and Arklow have the essential characteristics of South Leinster Dáil constituencies such as Carlow/Kilkenny, Kildare North and Wexford. The entire North Wicklow is essentially an area under the Urban pressure of Dublin and indeed Dublin Bus and Dart serve most of these areas but are obviously not present in more southern areas.

There is now no resident TD serving the large geographic MD’s of Wicklow, Baltinglass and Arklow. The Wicklow Mountains and the large amount of rural Towns, Villages and Communities make the imbalance in National Representation in Dáil Eireann a significant issue amongst the citizens of these areas.
The current location of the 5 sitting TD’s has given rise to the most imbalanced geographic representation of Dáil deputies in Ireland at this time. In fact having researched and written about Irish General Elections since 2002, I think it would be hard to find a result where such a large area of a 5 seat constituency did not have a resident TD.

The recent census and indeed the population growth figures are outlined in the National Planning Framework and the new County Wicklow Development Plan will copperfasten this imbalance in representation as North Wicklow’s population is to grow much faster than the rest of the County. Housing Development in Bray, Greystones and all other areas of North Wicklow has already outstripped the rest of the County and this will be accelerated as a result of new planning developments.

I ask that the Boundary Commission address this gross imbalance in Dáil representation and to take into account the logic of the socio-economic profile of County Wicklow combined with the future imbalance in growth projects to divide the existing 5 seat constituency into 2 on a North Wicklow / South Wicklow basis. This would be a fair reflection of the reality of life in Wicklow where the northern area is largely urban focused with the remaining areas being of a rural South Leinster nature.

Is mise

John

Cllr John Mullen
Baltinglass Municipal District
Wicklow County Council

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