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Ireland’s Statutory, Independent Electoral Commission

Constituency Review Submission from Enniscorthy Chamber of Commerce

Enniscorthy Chamber of Commerce

Submission ID: S432





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At the outset may I take this opportunity of wishing you ‘all the best’ in your work?

I am writing to you on behalf of Enniscorthy and District Chamber of Commerce which from a representative point of view also includes the town of Bunclody. At present the Constituency of Wexford currently comprises 5 elected representatives and is delineated by the country boundary. The latest preliminary census results indicate that the constituency now has 163,527 people living within the country boundary and is growing rapidly. Again, according to the preliminary census, Enniscorthy town has a population of 13,632 people making it clearly the second largest town in County Wexford.

It is acknowledged that the population of the constituency means that the commission must make some important changes as the population exceeds the acceptable ration of TDs to the population under the Constitution.

What is of great concern to the Chamber is the persistent rumours that Bunclody is to be moved into the Carlow Constituency as Bunclody is an integral satellite town of Enniscorthy. While

there may be some 232 km between the towns, they have always been symbiotic and

interdependent, culturally, economically, socially and historically. Bunclody ranks very high on the social deprivation index and the decoupling of the town would, in our opinion, has a devastating effect on it. It would also create a very unbalanced and unrepresentative 5 seat constituency with a large ‘bite’ out of its centre.

So, what should be done? We strongly urge that the county be maintained as a 5-seat constituency by keeping as much of the county together as possible in a coherent shape. This would maximise continuity, proportionality, and community coherence. If, however, there is to be a division, then it is notable that the county could retain integrity and a form of continuity as two stand alone 3 seat constituencies contained within the country boundaries.

If the Commission chooses to recommend the election of 178 TDs this can be done with a deviation of only 5.4%, at 179 and 180 TDs this deviation falls below the 5% mark. In such a scenario, the obvious division is North/South as this would allow the majority of natural

hinterlands to be respected with a balanced population and manageable constituencies.

Again, a strict adherence to local electoral areas (LEAs) would not be appropriate. To ensure population balance without little or no negative impact, former areas of Enniscortrhy (and whose postal area is still Enniscorthy, such as Courtnacuddy, Rathnure, Killane, Cloughbawn Curracloe) could be transferred back in.

It is worth noting that Enniscorthy has consistently elected two, and currently three TDs. The reason for this is not accidental. Enniscorthy is a historic town (1798, 1848, 1916) a Cathedral town (Ferns Diocese) and a traditional Market Town with a very large hinterland of people who look to Enniscorthy as their hometown. These settlements include Ferns to its North, Bunclody to its West, Blackwater to its East and Oylegate and Clonroche to its South. This strong community of people who look to Enniscorthy as their town should be reflected in any decision

of the Commission on future  boundary changes.

It is important to note also that the local electoral areas (LEA) do not reflect the traditional or natural affinity of the people living in them and we respectfully submit that they should not form the basis for constituency boundaries in County Wexford. In particular Kilmuckridge LEA is an amalgamation of South East Gorey and East Enniscorthy. Another example, Glenbrien, 5 km East of Enniscorthy, Ballymurn, 8 km East of Enniscorthy and Oylegate, 7 km South of Enniscorthy and almost 4 km from Gorey are all key villages of Enniscorthy town. Similarly, areas such as Courtnacuddy, Rathnure and Killanne which were recently moved into the New Ross District are more naturally aligned to Enniscorthy.

Please give careful consideration to the points raised in this submission when making a final decision on boundary changes as they might apply to County Wexford.

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