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Constituency Review Submission from Just Transition Greens

Just Transition Greens

Submission ID: S448




National Issues

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The Just Transition Greens welcome the opportunity to make a submission to the Electoral Commission on constituency boundaries for Dáil and European elections and make the following points.

Constituency size

As far as practical, we believe the Electoral Commission should recommend constituencies of five seats. The Commission should only recommend constituencies of four seats when otherwise impractical and the Commission should never recommend the creation of a three-seat constituency.

A recommendation of the Convention on the Constitution, which also recommended the creation of the Electoral Commission, in reviewing the method of election in Ireland, recommended that the smallest constituency size be a five-seater.

As the proportionality of PR-STV is dependent upon district magnitude (i.e. the number of TDs or MEPs returned in the constituency), the greater the district magnitude the greater the degree of proportionality. Moreover, districts of greater magnitude enable greater representation of diversity among voters as larger constituencies benefit the representation of women and minority group candidates.

Despite the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, the Government then and now have not accepted this recommendation. However, the terms of reference of the Electoral Commission in recommending constituency sizes does not preclude you from recommending constituencies of greater district magnitude over constituencies of lesser district magnitude.

We therefore believe that the Electoral Commission should seek to recommend constituencies of five seats in magnitude, four seats only when otherwise impractical, and never three seats.

Consistency between boundaries

The terms of reference of the Electoral Commission in making recommendations for constituencies states that “the breaching of county boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable”. However, the terms of reference also state that this does not mean “the boundary of a city or any boundary between any two of the counties of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin.”

Notwithstanding that, we believe constituencies should maintain continuity between local authority boundaries and local authority electoral areas. We believe it is undermining to a cohesive sense of representative democracy for constituency boundaries at local, national and European levels to misalign and to be inconsistent. We believe this adds to voter confusion and weakens the link between communities and democratic representation at different levels.

We therefore believe that the Electoral Commission should seek to recommend constituencies that follow local authority boundaries and, where this is impractical, to follow the boundaries of Local Electoral Areas as far as practical. However, this should not be to the detriment or reduction of representation, either in number or in diversity.

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