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Constituency Review Submission from Martin O’Loghlen

Martin O’Loghlen

Submission ID: S484

Date

10/05/2023

Constituency

Clare, Galway East

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Submission to the Electoral Commission for the Constituency of Clare

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to make a submission to An Comisiún Toghcháin, the Electoral Commission, in respect of the review of the Dáil constituencies for the next General Election. In particular, I want to focus on the Clare constituency.

Clare no different to most other constituencies has recorded a considerable increase in population as recorded in the most recent census. Additionally, the continued inward migration of Ukranian refugees and those seeking International protection, has seen a disproportionate increase in Clare’s population compared to other counties, mainly due to the proliferation of holiday accommodation along the west coast of the County (seasonal hotels and rental holiday homes). Much of this increase has taken place since the census was undertaken.

The current Clare constituency comprises all the County of Clare for the first time in a long while and returns 4 seats.

The current population of 127,419 does not include the significant increase in population experienced due to the migration issue.

Current scenario:

Clare current 4 seats

For the purpose of this exercise, I have assumed that the Commission will select the number of seats in the next Dail towards the upper limit as set out in the terms of reference for Eg. 179.

Assuming a national population of 5,123,536 and 179 seats the average population per seat will be 28,623.

Clare County Population 127419

Constituency average 28623 X 4=114,492

In this scenario Clare would have to shed 12,927 of population to remain in line with national average.

In recent boundary revisions the tendency has been to move parts of South East Clare (Shannon Electoral area) into the Limerick City constituency. If this precedent was to be continued it would see the transfer to Limerick City of at least the following ED’s Ballycannon, Ballyglass, Cappaville, Killeely, Kiltenanlea and potentially Mount Ivers and Cratloe.

This would be unacceptable to many people in the area and would be a very   significant breach of the county boundary principle.

For the purpose of this submission, I would suggest taking a different approach.

Proposal:

Assign a fifth seat to the Clare constituency.

Assuming a national population of 5,123,536 and 179 seats the average population per seat will be 28,623.

County Population 127,419

Constituency average 28,623 x 5=143,115

In this scenario the constituency would need to accept population of between 10,000 and 15,000 voters to remain within the normal tolerance.  Looking at the 3 contagious constituencies of Limerick City, Tipperary or Galway east, it would seem that the following ED’s in Galway East would represent an obvious solution there by resolving the increase in population in the greater Galway County and allowing for a redraw between Galway East and West and also returning areas of Galway transferred to the Roscommon and Mayo constituency at the Last occasion.

Ardamullivan, Co.Galway,719
Ardrahan, Co.Galway,613
Ballycahalan, Co.Galway,209
Beagh, Co.Galway,799
Cahermore, Co.Galway,633
Cappard, Co.Galway,122
Castleboy, Co.Galway,565
Castletaylor, Co.Galway,689
Killeenavarra, Co.Galway,906
Killinny, Co.Galway,497
Killogilleen, Co.Galway,976
Derrylaur, Co.Galway,102
Skehanagh, Co.Galway,534
Doorus, Co.Galway,889
Kiltartan, Co.Galway,861
Kilthomas, Co.Galway,96
Gort, Co.Galway,3139
Kinvarra, Co.Galway,1586
Kilbeacanty, Co.Galway,360
Kilchreest, Co.Galway,304
___________14599

This approach would allow Clare to remain as an entire County by including areas of East Galway which falls into the natural hinterland of Clare. There is some precedent here where there was a Constituency of Clare-South Galway from 1969 to 1977.

This approach would, while breaching the Galway county boundary give further scope to resolve the  necessary redraw of Galway west, Galway East, and return areas to Mayo and Roscommon there by protecting a greater number of county boundary breaches.

Yours Sincerely

Martin O Loghlen

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