Constituency Review Submission from Killian Mangan
Submission ID: S55
While many of the other submissions so far have focused on the specific population increases within each constituency since the previous census, I would like to draw attention to the general democratic deficit that comes with our electoral system and how it is currently configured.
As we can see so clearly from recent political developments in the US, the UK, and France, among others, proportionality is one of the most important characteristics of a strong, fair, and stable political system. We are incredibly fortunate in Ireland to use the Single Transferable Vote system, which is viewed highly by the US electoral reform organisation FairVote (https://fairvote.org/our-reforms/ranked-choice-voting/) and is the highest-rated of the various mainstream electoral systems by the UK’s Electoral Reform Society (https://www.electoralreform.org.uk/voting-systems/types-of-voting-system/single-transferable-vote/). Key among their praise of the system is the high level of proportionality which it allows for.
However, In Ireland, this proportionality has been severely and excessively curtailed in a way which inherently benefits the larger parties and robs smaller political groupings of their democratic voice; in effect, cutting out important and valuable perspectives from the democratic process. This is due to the many smaller 3/4 seat constituencies which have been drawn previously. In reviewing the constituencies for Dáil elections, I believe it is essential for the legitimacy and stability of our political system that the focus is on creating larger 6 and 7 seat constituencies, which improve the proportionality of the Dáil, and ultimately improves the democratic representation of all voters. This must be done, where possible, with respect to maintaining county boundaries where-ever possible, as many other submissions have correctly highlighted.
Ireland is considered to have the most centralised political system in the entire OECD
(https://www.oecd.org/regional/regional-policy/profile-Ireland.pdf), and the local government reforms of 2014 have already severely curtailed the democratic representation of our citizens, so an effort should be made to maximise the democratic representation of voters at a national level to as close to the ‘1 member per 20,000 of the population’ (as defined in the Constitution) as possible, in order to ensure that our democracy thrives into the future.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing the outcome of this public consultation.