Constituency Review Submission from Cllr Shane Moynihan
Cllr Shane Moynihan
Submission ID: S539
10 May 2023
I am writing with regard to your ongoing work assessing the number of constituencies in the country and the number of seats to be assigned to each. I note the latitude that has been granted to An Coimisiún Toghcháin with regard to the overall size of Dáil Éireann and would, as a general principle, suggest that An Coimisiún tend towards constituencies with a larger district magnitude. This would tend towards a more proportional outcome vis-à-vis votes and seats.
In my submission, I propose to focus on the constituency which I know best: Dublin Mid-West.
Established as a new constituency in 2002, Dublin Mid-West is a diverse and rapidly growing constituency, with a population that has increased significantly in recent years. This has been reflected in the fact that the number of seats was increased from three to four seats for the 2007 general election. Dublin Mid-West contains a number of towns and villages which are self-contained in and of themselves, in the most part, such as Lucan, Clondalkin, Palmerstown, Rathcoole, Newcastle, Brittas and the majority of Saggart. The constituency also contains the new area of Adamstown and will contain the new Clonburris development, which will both develop into large towns in their own right.
Dublin Mid-West has seen the fifth highest rate of population change in the state between 2016 and 2022, resulting in an overall population of 130,415 and yielding a population to TD ratio of 32,604 (exceeding the constitutional maximum by 8.68%). In the event of a 180 member Dáil, using current boundaries, Dublin Mid-West would have population to justify 4.6 TDs. This suggests that an extension of the boundary to include an extra 10,000 people would provide a straightforward solution to a (justified) five-seat constituency. Any such extension should reflect the fact that there are self- contained catchment areas in the constituency and should seek to enhance that.
It is also worth noting that, taken in its entirety, the South Dublin County Council Area accounts for 299,793 people which would be the equivalent of 10 TDs for the area (assuming the smallest possible number of overall TDs nationally), according to the constitutional maximum. With that in mind, it would seem most appropriate and, in line with the spirit of the terms of reference for An Coimisiúin not breach county boundaries (albeit administrative in this case), to match the allocation of constituencies with the local authority area insofar as possible. Consequently, two five-seat constituencies would seem logical, i.e. Dublin Mid-West and Dublin South-West.
Additionally, creating a five-seat Dublin Mid-West constituency future-proofs with regard to the expected population increases coming from the Clonburris and Adamstown developments. These areas are currently undergoing significant development, with plans for thousands of new homes and associated infrastructure. This growth will undoubtedly have an impact on the population of the surrounding areas, and any changes to the boundary should take this into account.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Cllr Shane Moynihan