Constituency Review Submission from Matthew McConnell
Submission ID: S289
Where possible, changes to constituencies should strive to create larger constituencies rather than smaller ones. In constituencies with a higher number of seats available, the translation of vote share into seat share is more accurate. Therefore, to ensure that the composition of parliament is as reflective of people’s voting as possible, more 5-seat constituencies should be pursued rather than 3-seat ones. Professor Michael Gallagher, TCD, for example, has written a lot on Ireland’s electoral system and he has made this point too; higher district magnitude causes more proportional electoral outcomes. District magnitude must be five or more for true proportionality in PR systems. Ireland’s average is merely four, the lowest of any PR system in Europe. See Gallagher, M. (2008) ‘Ireland: the discreet charm of PR-STV’, in Gallagher, M. and Mitchell, P. (eds) The Politics of Electoral Systems, revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 511-532, or Gallagher, M., Laver, M. and Mair, P. (2011) Representative Government in Modern Europe, Fifth Edition, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education for some instances of his work on this topic.
I urge the electoral commission to move away from 3-seater constituencies where possible because of this and commit to creating larger ones. Thanks for your time and I hope this has helped inform your decision-making.