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Constituency Review Submission from John Colgan

John Colgan

Submission ID: S09

Date

15/02/2023

Constituency

European Constituencies - Dublin, European Constituencies - Midlands-North-West, European Constituencies - South

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                                                                                                                        15/2/2023

Electoral Commission,

By Email

Dear Commissioners,

Good luck with your work, which is an extensive and challenging spread of topics.

Here is my submission towards your consideration of the electoral boundaries of Ireland’s EU constituencies:

  1.  Ireland’s population has increased by about 17% in the period, 2006 to 2022, but it seems that it is not sufficient to justify an increase in the total number of seats, now at 13. I have compared the populations and seat numbers of Ireland with Denmark, Finland and Slovakia (all with 14 seats now, and all with an average of half a million more people now.)
  • Since the elected MEPs do not compete strongly with each other for economic benefits within the community and while there are probably significant differences on social policy issues, albeit diminishing over time, I am inclined to recommend to the Commission that they do not pursue exactitude in respect of the constituency population per seat, such as they might do for Dail constituencies.
  • The EU seems to pay particular interest in the development of physical infrastructure within member states, notably transport infrastructure. For that reason, I contend there is merit in altering the constituency boundaries when the opportunity presents itself to ‘capture’ items of common infrastructural significance and potential, even if they are captured accidently, in place of retaining stagnant boundaries.
  • I have lived in the Midlands etc Constituency, which extends from Leixlip, Co Kildare, to Carndonagh, Co Donegal. My residence (of over 30 years) is ten miles from O’Connell Bridge, Dublin. Some 13,000 vehicles a day [Survey for KCC ca. 2012] pass my door, many avoiding the M50 toll bridge over the Liffey elsewhere. It is an absurdity that, for mathematical convenience, industrial North Kildare is combined with glorious, but distant, Co Donegal for representational purposes!  I want that changed…
  • The main issues of public and physical infrastructure –  probably for some twenty years to come – will be the provision of rail, whether it be by train, or tram, infrastructure in the greater Dublin Region; along the counties of the Western seaboard; and connecting Waterford to Cork and Kerry.

150 years ago Leixlip and nearby Lucan, Co Dublin, enjoyed a steam (later d.c. electric) tram from Conyngham Road to Mill Lane (serving its corn mills), Leixlip; and until ca 1955, a commuter steam train service from Connolly Station beyond Leixlip.  In or about 1972, I started a campaign  – Western Area Rail Travellers – WART for short! – to get even a rudimentary commuter train service from Dublin to Maynooth. We got it, shortly thereafter, using the cast-off rail cars from the Dublin to Greystones service. I cite these to show the neglect of provision of infrastructure outside the ambit of South Dublin based decision makers.

  • My preference for revised constituencies would be for
  •  A Metropolitan Constituency, embracing Dublin and some of Kildare North, Wicklow, Meath East, and West Meath, Louth and Laois-Offaly to make a Five-Seater
  • An Atlantic Coastal Constituency, extending from Donegal to Kerry and
  • A Midlands South East Constituency embracing Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Tipperary Kilkenny etc.
  • If the Commission take a minimalist, conservative line, which I do not support, they could conveniently improve the equity in population per seat in the Dublin Constituency by the inclusion with the Dublin areas, of the Dail Constituency of Kildare North.

John F Colgan,

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