Constituency Review Submission from John Kelly
Submission ID: S39A
Dear Board Members,
I wish to make representation in respect of the proposed constituency boundary review for the upcoming Dáil election in respect of County Donegal.
The commission will note that as of the 2016 census, Donegal had a population of 150,657 persons and had five Dáil representatives, giving a proportion of 30,131 persons per TD, more than the maximum of 30,000 per TD permitted by the Constitution.
The population of Donegal has now increased, as per the preliminary census results for 2022, to a population of 156,990. This would necessitate the constituency being divided into two three-seat constituencies.
Donegal is a very geographically distinct county being bordered on the North and West by the sea and on the South-East by Northern Ireland. The county is a distinct single local authority area and has a strong sense of county identity. It would not therefore make sense to divide the constituency in order to meet the constitutional requirements. Most Donegal people would be very much of the opinion that the constituency should remain as a single entity and that the only matter to be decided is the level of representation. As pointed out above, the argument for not sub-dividing the county for Dáil elections is overwhelming. The only means by which this can occur under the Constitution, as well as in respect to the principle of proportionality, is for there to be an increase in the allowable numbers of seats above five-seaters. Between the years of 1923 and 1937 Donegal was represented by a single eight-seat constituency. As the Constitution places no upper limit on the number of seats per constituency, the principles of county integrity and proportionality would be best served by increasing the seats per constituency to eight or higher.
I would be obliged if you could acknowledge receipt of this submission.