Constituency Review Submission from Conor Sheehan
Submission ID: S511
European Constituencies - Dublin, European Constituencies - Midlands-North-West, European Constituencies - South
To the members of An Coimisiún Toghcháin – The Electoral Commission
I would like to outline to you my proposal for how the constituencies for the 2024 European Parliament elections in Ireland should be drawn. According to the preliminary results of the 2022 Census, Ireland now has a population of 5,123,536 people. As Ireland is due to gain a fourteenth seat in the European Parliament after the next elections in 2024, the national average population per MEP will stand at one MEP for every 365,967 people. My proposal aims to create the most evenly balanced constituencies by population in the history of European Parliament elections in Ireland, as all three proposed constituencies have a percentage variance of within just 1.1% of the national average population per MEP.
The three constituencies are as follows:
(1) Dublin (2) West (3) East
Dublin remains unchanged from the previous election in 2019 as a four-seat constituency. As it now has a population of 1,450,701 people, it therefore would have an average of 362,675 people per MEP. This would represent a variance of -0.90% from the national average.
The new West constituency would consist of the counties of Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway,
Kerry, Leitrim, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. This would be a five-seat constituency.
These counties now have a combined population of 1,824,256 people, representing a figure of 364,851 people per MEP. This would represent a variance of just -0.30% from the national
The new East constituency would consist of the counties of Carlow, Cavan, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow. This would also be a five-seat constituency. These counties now have a combined population of 1,848,579 people, representing a figure of 369,716 people per MEP. This would represent a variance of 1.02% from the national average.
Equality of representation is critical in any democracy, as it guarantees that all votes are equally important as each other. My proposal is in accordance with Article 57.3 (b) of the Electoral Reform Act, 2022, as it satisfies “the need for reasonable equality of representation as between
constituencies”. Furthermore, it also satisfies the criteria outlined between paragraphs (b) and (e) of subsection 2 of the act. Each constituency has between 3 and 5 members (b), no county boundary is breached (c), each constituency is contiguous (d), and the new constituencies of West and East are divided by a significant natural border, the River Shannon, which already acts as a political border between counties also (e).
Although these new constituencies do not “maintain continuity in relation to the arrangement of constituencies”, as outlined in paragraph (f), they are much more effective at ensuring each constituency is equally represented by MEPs than the current constituencies of
Midlands-North-West and South, as represented by their population variances. As I believe that equality of representation is a more important factor to consider than continuity of existing boundaries, I therefore consider it necessary to redraw the boundaries of the European Parliament constituencies in this manner. I hope that you will take this into consideration when preparing your report.
Finally, I would like to take this moment to wish you the very best of luck with your work in the weeks and months ahead.