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Constituency Review Submission from Pamela Byrne & Jodie Nolan

Pamela Byrne & Jodie Nolan

Submission ID: S497

Date

10/05/2023

Constituency

Carlow-Kilkenny

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To whom it may concern,

I would like to make a submission to the Electoral Commission regarding the constituency of CarlowKilkenny.

Under Article 16.2.2 of the Constitution there should be at a minimum one TD per 30,000 persons. Carlow with three LEAs is proud of its 61,931 population number and therefore at a minimum should have two TDs.

However, there is only one, with four TDs based in the larger Kilkenny portion of the constituency.

Carlow county has an urban centre of Carlow town which accounts for over one-third of the County’s population, if there was an inclusion of Graiguecullen the population of Carlow Town extends to 31,182 making it the thirteenth largest urban area in the State. This alone would indicate the need for one TD just for the urban centre let alone the county.

I would like to see Graiguecullen therefore be considered to be included in a Carlow Constituency.

Historically, Graiguecullen would be considered Carlow. Not only are we geographically close but we are also connected with many families interchanging between Carlow and Graiguecullen for work, homelife and recreation, they are located side by side. Addresses in Graiguecullen are always listed as Carlow, some even as Carlow Co. Laois. This anomaly leads to residents having to travel as far away as Portlaoise for essential services which are available on their doorstep in Carlow. It means that children who attend school in Carlow ten steps from their door have to attend healthcare and council services some thirty minutes away in Portlaoise. Without a public transport system, this is very challenging. Not to mention there is a feeling among many residents that they would prefer to be able to access services close to where they live.

The most recent published population data for Carlow Town, as per the CSO indicates that overall, the population of the town has increased exponentially and will continue to do so. Urban ED and Graigue Rural ED, continue to experience significant levels of population growth. While this area extends beyond the Carlow Town boundary as defined by the CSO, it gives a clear indication of the extent of population growth within and proximate to Carlow Town which warrants greater representation.

Carlow therefore merits a consideration if there is to be any breach of County Boundaries in certain circumstances, and that instead of breaking up Local Electoral Areas, two could be merged.

Voters then will tend to be served by the same national legislatures and local authority / authorities.

Recently a housing development was brought to bear by the joint working of Carlow and Laois County Councils, the homes in that development at the very least should be allowed to vote in their closest local authority area which would be Carlow in order to limit the distance those residents have to travel for essential services they can avail of a stones throw away.

This would also mean that voters would be represented on the local Council by their local councillors, and they would have access to their closest TD. This would ensure a more focused level of representation for the LEA at national level.

Because Carlow is currently the smaller of a two-constituency county make up, many voters feel marginalised as they see the bigger county receiving the capital investments in a proportional way, the smaller county always being at a disadvantage.

Many thanks,

Pamela Byrne

Jodie Nolan

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