Constituency Review Submission from Peter Moylan
Submission ID: S311
I saw your advert in the newspapers a while ago and I have been very busy or out of the Country lately, so I didn’t get around to doing this. I hope it is not too late to submit this to you.
I am not an expert on Areas and Hinterlands and increases in Local Populations and Maps that kind of thing. I would be more a tally man type of Election Day Count Person. My Observations on why the number of Seats in the Constituency of Clare should be increased to 5 are as follows.
The Quota in Clare is getting Higher and Higher for Years, since even the late 1990s. At the Election in 1997 the FF Party managed an almost impossible Feat in Ireland now, of getting 3 Seats for a single Party – FIanna Fail – in a 4 Seat Constituency. That time it took about just 7,800 Votes to secure a Quota in Clare. It always struck me that many TDs in Dublin were securing Seats with as little as 4,000-5,000 Votes, and how much easier it was to get elected in Urban and City Areas.
Indeed One time someone secured a Seat in Dáil Éireann with a starting 1st Preference of just 950 Votes in Dublin City Central. Such a 1st Preference in Clare would have you consigned to an also ran status instantly in any Election. Granted Bertie Ahern’s Number 2’s played a big part in that story there, but still it is a sign of the Variation in Effort that is required to secure a Vote to get Elected in Co. Clare, by comparison with anywhere in Dublin.
The Areas of Ground that have to be covered in Clare are also Very Large as it is a Very Large County Physically, by Irish Standards, for just a Single Constituency. Very Little can be done with Clare in terms of Constituency Boundaries as it’s Geography sees it mostly surrounded by Water, reducing the amount of Area which can be moved to other Constituencies. Effectively this keeps Clare as a “Natural” 4 Seater in every Review. However what happens when Clare is getting too Big to be a 4 Seater but also Falls Short of getting sufficient population Growth to become a Full 5 Seater? The Quota keeps rising to 12,000 – 13,000 that’s what. The Question is is that fair to Clare and it’s Voters? More importantly is is Fair to potential Candidates or the newer Smaller Political Parties or Independents who are a specific and especially in Co. Clare, vital part of the Political Landscape? All of those elements will see the Challenge as maybe just too Big or Resource / Finance Draining, to be contested realistically? Therefore the County is just ignored. Voters are effectively being deprived of a Proper Full Choice then and are even more effectively being shoe-horned into voting for the “Status Quo” from the Previous Elections.
Years ago back in 1977 Clare – While the Country was under the Famous Tullymander Gerrymander era of the FIne Gael / Labour National Coalition from 1973-1977 – was divided into 2, Putting huge parts of Clare Votes into East Galway. This cut Clare from its Traditional 4 Seats of the Eamon DeValera era down to just 3 Seats. As Clare is a very Traditional and Conservative Voting Constituency or perhaps I should say was, until about or around that 1997 General Election, it effectively guaranteed 1 Each for FG (who had a West Clare Based TD F.Taylor) and 1 for FF with the 3rd Seat in the Balance tilting towards FG/Lab National Coalition Win as Ennis the Large Urban Centre was included. At least that was the Plan. Now I am sure this was prior to the setting up of a Neutral Body like yourselves to decide the Constituency Boundaries, it was done back then by the Minister of the Environment, a guy called Tully who did the drawing up of the Boundaries, thus hoping to lean the Election towards a National Coalition Win. Back in those Days, once in Government it was a bit like the Ryder Cup in Golf, it was just accepted by opposition that it was up to them to win “the Cup” back off the Government of the Day or whoever was in Power, a close result or a tie just wouldn’t be enough to cut it. Indeed it may be partially even reflected in the Idea of the Ceann Comhairle always voting with the Government of the Day in the event of a Dail Vote tie too.
Indeed I am old enough to also remember a certain Ogra FF fellow, called Bartholomew Ahern appearing on the Black and White TV on an RTÉ Pre-Election Special – was it 7 Days? – explaining to the Newspaper Media Consensus Experts, who were all confident of a Win for the Coalition, that FF would need only a 5 % Swing in each Constituency, to gain an awful lot of Seats. The same said Bertie wasn’t treated too seriously back then, as Newspaper Polling itself was in its infancy and was not all that scientifically done.
The Moral of the Story for RTÉ afterwards was that then Jack Lynch FF Leader, led FF to a Landslide Win of Extraordinary Proportions, a 20 Seat Dail Majority over all other TDs added together. Even Jack Lynch in his 1st Comment on RTÉ said his Majority was just too Big. In Clare the Constituency went to 2 FF Seats to 1 FG Seat but the actual scale of the Win was much Bigger and would have delivered an even bigger win for FF if it had been the Traditional 4 Seat Size. In Fact the Gerrymandering to cut FF’s potential Vote or contain it in Clare, had worked well, but the sheer scale of the Landslide result, had obscured that Fact. If the Traditional 4 Seat had been the size of the Constituency then in all Likelihood the outcome would have been the 3 FF TDs would have been elected, over the Quota, on the 1st Count.
The Other FF TD was a Famous Character Dr. Bill Loughnane, a popular Doctor and Musician as well, who had won an All-Ireland Hurling Medal for Dublin in the 1930s. He had been effectively forced to run in a Galway Constituency where he knew no one and had no real connections. That had been the Plan to get rid of him and give him no chance in a rural Hinterland of Galway when he had always been a Clare TD. However such was the scale of the Swing and given his very engaging Character he immediately won the Galway People over.
The reason I tell this story from 1977 in relation to todays Submission is that despite it delivering a Huge result for FF it was in the Constituency a deeply deeply unpopular development, that people wanted changed almost immediately. That Dr. Bill TD had to base his Constituency Office more to the Middle of his new Constituency in Galway rankled with his Supporters and Constituents. They were so used to the 4 Quarters Division of the County of Clare with the Capital Bang in the Centre of the County, that it really disjointed the Natural Feel of the County to People. In reality Clare cuts into 4 Slices quite Naturally, so when it was made into 2 Different Constituencies it felt like some of Clare had been handed over to Galway. I think a part of East Clare around Parteen and Meelick was put into Limerick City Constituency as Well at that time or it might have been a bit maybe 10 Years later. This was a lot less disconcerting to Clare as a lot of the South East Corner of Clare were originally Limerick People who had moved out of Limerick and the natural flow of People was to go to Limerick Shopping not Ennis. However when it came to County Council Elections the same People were much happier to stay in Clare. It could be a quite surprisingly Hot and Sensitive Issue at times. Indeed I know One Council, that got into a lot of Trouble when it attempted a change after requests from Limerick City Council to expand their remit into the South East of Clare.
The Idea of Clare having 4 TDs goes all the way back to the end of the UK’s Rule in Ireland to the 1918 General Election after World War 1 where SF secured a Landslide in Southern Ireland to break away and form the first Dail where the Clare Area was represented by 4 MPs. Indeed the Most Famous By-Election in Clare, was one of the most important in Ireland’s History, the Famous Willie Redmond By-Election for East Clare, which saw the 1916 Easter Rising Leader, Eamon DeValera elected. However that Natural 4 Seat Co. Clare which worked as far back to Westminster Times is beginning to break down now in my view as the Constituency Voting Quota is getting just too big and the County TDs are representing more and more People, than are on the Actual Electoral Register. The Ukrainian War has seen a huge Influx of People in just a Very Short Time, almost 5,000 added to the Population, who being realistic will probably not ever return or certainly not before the next General Election return to Ukraine, given the Progress of the War as it stands. TDs will have to carry this extra additional Workload on top of the Already Big Quota Workload. On a purely personal Level is it fair to ask TDs in Clare to commit so much time from their Families and extra resources to running a Constituency Office in Clare by comparison with TDs elsewhere who are effectively responsible for way less Voters? Ultimately the Constitution governs the range of Representation required for 30,000 Voters, but Clare must be nearing a Limit of what can be sustained within a 4 Seater Constituency at this Stage.
To go back to 1977 for a minute again in relation to Co. Clare. That time a load of new TDs got elected, that were never anticipated to get elected, many had been selected as “Sweeper” Candidates to feed transfers to elect other Main Candidates. Jack Lynch knew on Election Night they were all close to Charlie Haughey his Mortal Party Enemy, since the 1970 Arms Trial. Jack Lynch knew that it would be very difficult to control these TDs given the huge inflationary Challanges the Country was Facing and the Troubles in the North. Indeed so it ultimately proved afterwards and Lynch himself was gone within 2 Years. The important reason I tell this story is to point out that despite the Big Win for FF under the Gerrymandered Constituency Review almost immediately most of the FF Party and TDs themselves wanted the Constituency’s changed back to Normal Size and Hinterland. Jack Lynch knew all that before the Election Result. The Landslide electing so many new Enemies was actually the reason he set up you Guys almost immediately afterwards, as a Neutral decider to avoid such an event ever happening again, with a Guideline to stick as much as possible to Natural County Sized Borders for each Constituency. It is noteworthy since then there has never been an Overall Majority for any Political Party ever since. What was also noteworthy was no Backbench or opposition TDs kicked up to preserve the new Boundaries even though many would want to hold their seats in a few years time. Perhaps Jack Lynch hoped that many Enemy TDs would be eliminated “naturally”, at a future Election and things would go back to “Normal” by reverting back to more County Boundaries. What actually happened was no one resisted the County Boundary Idea and the New FF Leader Charlie Haughey just increased the Number of Dail Seats to give all the TDs in the existing 1977 Landslide a chance to retain their Seats within a County Boundary Structure. Everyone was satisfied with that and there was no grumbling or Complaints, even when some of that new Crop lost Seats to Fellow Party Members at the 1981 General Election.
I tell this story only to show how unpopular the Artificial Gerrymandering Constituency Review was eventually with all Political Parties. The County Boundary Idea or as near as possible to it has worked ever since, so realistically there is no Changing that. Since 1977 there has actually been virtually no Dissension on the idea of sticking to County Boundaries and the size of Constituencies Created. But this does put Co. Clare at a particular disadvantage in terms of increasing the Number of Seats to 5 to reduce the Quota Size to under 10,000 Votes again or even to just altering the County Structure to 3 Seats or even creating a Double 3 Seater like Kerry or Donegal used to be up to a few years ago. The Width of the Shannon River militates against pulling bits of Tipperary say around Kilaloe/ Ballina which have a lot of natural connnections, bar the intense Hurling Rivalry, into the Clare Constituency too.
Realistically the only way to reduce the Quota in Co. Clare is to make it a 5 Seater by adding in some of the Natural Hinterland of Clare eg. North Clare over to Kinvara or Areas around Gort, to do this. Limerick is Out really, given it only recently moved back to Co. Clare, something which caused an upset in Clare FF by effectively causing 2 of its main Candidates to compete for a Seat out of the East Clare area. It is too soon to move that Area back to Limerick City, to reduce the Quota Backwards, I’d say at minute. As I previously explained despite obvious East Clare Limerick Suburbs leanings, the idea was always extraordinarily unpopular for a number of Elections. It was very much welcomed when Meelick Parteen returned into Clare. However it did have the effect of pushing up the Quota much higher again. That may have been desirable at time given a desire to keep the Number of TDs Nationally around 160 Seats in the Dail. However we know this time we have to create, is it 12 Extra Dail seats across the Country? All these Seats cannot go to Dublin City or North Kildare. The Country itself is getting Disjointed between Urban and Rural Ireland as it is. As the East Coast increases in Population are driven by Economic Development there will not be a Vital Rebalancing relative to the Rest of the Country by increasing the Number of Dail Seats in Dublin.
I believe even it we had a United Ireland and you drew a line from Antrim down to Wexford by the Year 2030, over 70% of the Population on the Island, would be living within 35 Kms of the East Coast. That cannot be good for Social or National Cohesion, which is visibly strained as it is. Even within Parties the Requirement to Elect future Party Leaders from the Dublin Area is Growing as a result of all the Dail Seats allocated to Dublin and the “Pale” County Areas. This is just Wrong. Where you live in the Country shouldn’t determine if you can lead a National Party, but it is increasingly becoming the Case. At the Very Least No Party Leader isn’t mainly coming from a densely populated Urban Area. This is why if there is a Chance at all it can be done on the Numbers a Place like Co. Clare is where an extra Seat should be fitted.
It is also important to keep our National General Elections competitive and facilitate the rise of new Political Parties to give a Vibrancy to our Democracy and a sense of Possible Renewal and Change to our Politics. If anything I would say a notion is taking hold within Voters that Politics in Ireland is becoming about the Constant maintenance of a Status Quo with no Change, just a mild Alteration of Faces from Time to Time. Ironically that is propelling Voters to turn to more Radical and Extreme Voices or giving up on Voting all together. Indeed if anything it is making the System more Unstable as Voters feel that only Major Shifts in Voting Intentions can do anything at all. Hence the huge drops in Support for Mainstream Parties from one Election to the Next, above and beyond traditional Movements at Elections based on Historical Trends. Never has it become more True that Political Parties don’t “Own” Voters than in the last few Elections.
What you as the Boundary Review must ensure is that you don’t do anything in Drafting the Boundary or Constituency Sizes to enhance that Instability, that is already there and developing. Likewise an effort should be made to interest Voters that their Votes matter and that the Election Result cannot be called in Advance based on improved Opinion Polling Techniques. Indeed one of the Great Strengths of our Current Proportional Multi-Seat Representation Systems with Regular Reviews is the Difficulty of calling the Last Seat in a lot of Constituencies in Advance of the Election, based on just Polling alone. A number of new unexpected Candidates or a new Political Party can still alter the direction of the Last Seats with its transfers in a tight race. This is one of the important things in a democracy, it is not always about the Winners who get elected. In a Tight Race as has been the case in County Clare it is very much about the Transfers from the “Lesser Candidates” at the Bottom and their issues, that decide the Race and the placings of the Top Candidates. This was especially true in the Last General Election of 2020 where No Candidate was elected, until very near the elimination of all the Candidates. This was a definite sign the Quota was far too high. There is an awful lot of Gathering in 12,000 Votes for a Candidate to get elected. It doesn’t inspire a lot of People to attempt to get elected or “waste their Money” even trying. This is wrong, we do not want to go down the Road of Money and lots of it being a necessary pre-requisite for running for Office like in the USA. In Fact we are already there. The Higher Quota in Co. Clare to be reached is already making that a Reality for Very Able Candidates. Many are deciding that it is just too much Money to be spent or Lost trying for such a slim Chance of Election. That should never be the deciding Factor in Elections, it Ultimately must be about Policies and Issues, Ability and Campaigns. In Reality the High Clare Quota is weeding the Field in Advance, to presumably benefit the Main Parties or Establishment Ideas. However it is usually the Smaller Parties or Independents that raise the Much needed Policy or Direction changes required, not the Bigger Parties. This is why elections are about Diversity of Ideas not just Genders too.
Indeed just look how far the Green Party and its ideas have changed the Policies of the Dail and the Country and the EU over 2 Decades? Would they even get a Hearing in a Constituency like Co. Clare if they were trying to Start out now? Would they look at a 13,500 Quota in Clare and say let’s not bother here, it’s too much of a Mountain to climb. Would they give up after 1 Election?
I suspect they would, as I observe how many Good Candidates in Both Local and General Elections do not come back to try again after a reasonable 1 st Effort. I have particularly noticed this in Relation to Woman Candidates. The Gender Quota System while at 1 Level is helping Women Candidates get selected to run is not really helping our Democratic Process too. The Larger Parties are keen to Select Women, to ensure Party HQ is funded as much as anything, but are struggling in Co. Clare I find for a Variety of Reasons. One thing is very Clear it is not for a Shortage of Great Women Candidates at all, despite what newspapers may write or think. I personally put the Very High Quota now as a Factor in this, which is why I feel a way must be found to Lower it.
Firstly some of the Best Women Candidates are older and feel they have gone “past the point” where they would run now. They are also experienced Players and know how much of an imposition it is on an Individual to run and the nature of Political Life in General. They know how much gathering there is in 13,500 Votes. Some of the Most Able Younger Women know exactly the Challenge involved and possibly have Children or Good Careers or Mortgages too, to risk it. They too get lost to the Democratic Process. So now parties find themselves reaching deeper Down to get Good but perhaps not their Best Candidates, but at least who are willing to run. I have also seen able but let’s say more Naive about the Scale of the Challenge to get 13,500 Votes, who have run only to be very bruised from the whole experience, feeling they were used as little more than Gender Fodder by HQ to provide a Transfer to the Real Male Contenders. Then despite getting much Local Council Level success, have no interest in attempting a 2nd Effort facing a Huge Quota of 13,500 for 2024-25.
So now Parties find themselves reaching for Candidates who are Goodish and Credible, have sufficient Ego to run, but are perhaps completely naive on the scale of the Challenge or perhaps at least willing to give it a Go once as the new Candidate on the Block or have a particular issue they want to Address. With a 13,000 Vote Quota they then get burned on the 1st Outing too and become very unlikely to want to attempt it again or the Party knows it’s pointless to re-run them a 2nd Time. Most Bigger Parties running Multiple Candidates want to run the Minimum Possible Candidates to get Maximum Seats and with the Requirement to have 40% Female Candidates it is also driving down competition on the Male side of the Selection Process.
In the UK capable Candidates just go for interview for other Single Seat Constituencies, but that is not an option in Ireland where Generally People must come from the Constituency they represent or at the very least Live openly in it all the Time. The Only option for Able Male Candidates is County Council Level possibly or change Parties – not acceptable in Ireland- or go Independent. Alternatively just Give up on Electoral Politics altogether or resign oneself to just playing a Background Role. None of this is desirable really in a Democracy that needs the best People in Political Life, to ensure the Country makes Good decisions. Rarely anymore are Party People truly consulted on Issues or listened to for that matter within Political Parties. Indeed TDs say the same thing and they are actually elected too. Indeed many of the decisions which effect the Country to this day, like on Housing Supply, are arguably a by-product of decisions taken during the Banking Crash by People out of their Depth in terms of understanding what had even happened. So there is a Price to be paid for Electing Popular but perhaps less able People, when a Crisis hits the Country.
So if many female candidates had bad experiences at attempting to break into Dail Politics that sends a message to potential new Candidates who parties may wish to recruit in Future too. Those other Candidates talk about the difficulties, the very High Quota etc. thus increasing the difficulties of Political Parties to find new Female Candidates, at the exact moment the Gender Quota is being pushed up to 40%. Indeed I wonder is the latest series of announcements by Dail Candidates retiring at the next Election driven in part by these increasing Challenges, relative to the actual sense of Satisfaction derived from doing the Job of a TD?
I will give you one small example of a small change on the surface made by Minister Phil Hogan at the same time as the Female Gender Quota change in 2013 that has had a huge effect on our democracy in terms of developing new Candidates or even enabling new Political Parties to get started in Ireland.
This was the Change by Phil Hogan to Abolish the Small Urban Councils and Town Commissions around the Country. The Ultimate Form of Local Democracy and Representation was abolished to save a small bit of Money in the EU Austerity Era. I remember saying to a Labour Party Urban Councilor in Ennis that had got elected to a 600 Vote Quota Council that it would be the Finish of the Labour Party when they allowed it. He didn’t believe me. I said you will be annihilated at next General Election but this time you won’t be able to rebuild either afterwards. When your TDs are Gone you will find it difficult enough outside Dublin to get new people elected to Restart the Fightback. The Quota for a County Council Seat will be 1500 to 2000 now, a much bigger ask for an Unpopular Party than 600 Votes for an Urban Council Seat. Then you will find it Hard to get new People to run when they struggle to get elected.
He lost his Labour Seat when he tried for the County Council in 2014 and ultimately immigrated from the Country altogether a few Years later. Labour have never recovered in Clare or the Country for that Matter. So High Quotas do matter in terms of the Democratic System with Long Reaching Consequences.
There is no doubt that our Politics has Europeanised since about the 1989 General Election which was the Last of the Great “Overall Majority” Elections in Ireland. Since then it has become a series of Coalitions that have ruled Ireland. Arguably this has lead to more Stable Government than expected, while ensuring a Wider debate and diversity within our Politics, also driven by far more Competition and Choice with the rise of new Parties some who lasted and others who did the State some Service for a Time. The Death of the famous 2 and a 1/2 Party system of the 1970s was no Harm and has done the vital service of making our Elections and Politics more interesting and Exciting today. This creates interest and attention amongst the Wider Public which is important for Voters and probably improves Turnout ensuring our Elections give a wider consultation and result. Indeed there are more new Parties registered than ever before on the scene to contest the next General Election in 2024-25. This is a Good thing I feel overall. Voters must never feel there is no point to their Vote or Voting can’t change things. Otherwise Democracy and the Legitimacy of Rule in a Country dies. Democracy is under a lot of threat from essentially Elective Dictatorships like Russia and China, as it is, without Voters giving up on Voting in Countries which have a long established Democratic Tradition like Ireland.
It is always desirable for Voters to at least be Given as wide a Choice as possible at Elections and by virtue of Increased Competition creating a livelier Political engagement to raise Public awareness of what is going on in their Government. The Very High Quota in Co. Clare doesn’t do that. It discourages the Field from being as wide as possible to a narrower band of potential Candidates who have a more realistic chance of Election. That is Ultimately the Job of Voters to decide not the Racing Stewards in Advance.
The Counter argument is that it makes Government Formation much Harder because of increasing diversity of Policy etc. The Last Coalition Government took a very long time to form a Coalition Government, but this was mainly down to the Main Parties boxing themselves in, Prior to the General Election, by refusing or ruling out certain Parties from Coalition, not actual Policy Differences in the End. Hopefully those less than Adult Days are Over in future and we allow the Voters to guide the Politicians to what they want from Future Governments, not the Political Parties telling Voters what they will accept as a Verdict. It remains to be seen what will Happen.
In truth the Voters are consulted Very Little in the Modern Politics in Ireland. Effectively its 2 Consultations in 5 Years. One Local and EU Election and the other General Election. It’s not a lot in a 5 Year Period and Change in Government depending on circumstances may be required a lot more often than that in Ireland, given the Sheer Pace of Modern Day Change. Very often in Ireland a poorly performing Government Limps on for the full 5 Years, even though the Electorate has had it with their Performance, continuing to let it sub perform wasting Valuable Time for a New Government who tend to get the Problem, like say Housing Supply issues, handed to them with even more of a Problem to be dealt with than had been the case had the Government ended 2 Years earlier. Then if Resources are Scarce the problem goes on getting worse even longer. Indeed it is Arguable that FG in Government lost the 2016 General Election on Housing, but for a Variety of Political reasons remained in Full Power with no Majority, potentially as far out as 9 Years later, until Housing has clearly become a Huge National Emergency, but each extra year of FG Government Rule has made it a much harder Problem to solve for the Next Government. Just because a Government can run a full Term of 5 Years doesn’t mean it should be running the full 5 Years. Ironically in Ireland a Coalition Government has never been pulled down on Competence Issues, only Trust Ones. Even that only happened once and that was in 1992. The 2011 Collapse of Government itself, wasn’t so much the Government, as the Arrival of the IMF Troika to take over the Control of the Country.
The Proof that the Current Coalition Government, despite how long it took to set up, wasn’t driven by key Policy Factors Differences or difficulties, just pure Politics, has been shown up subsequently by the lack of hardly a Cross Moment for them since 2020. All this despite the Huge Challenge of Covid19 being met as well.
This is why the Constituency Boundary Commission must ensure the Next Election facilities a Competitive Election by widening the Field of Debate during the campaign. Sinn Fein have risen in the Polls largely on the Combining of the Auld Enemies plus the Greens together, leaving little else as a Cohesive ruling opposition to the Current Status Quo. Co. Clare is a Great County to do this as it has a History of reflecting a National Mood swing going back to Daniel O’Connell in 1829 with Catholic Emancipation, DeValera in 1916 with Sinn Fein. Dr. Bhamjee in 1992 for Labour, James Breen in 2002 with the Rise of the Independents and Violet Anne Wyrnne for Sinn Fein from absolutely Nowhere in 2020. Clare is a Bellwether Constituency for Ireland. The Last General Election saw the the 4 Seat Constituency of 4 Slices divide evenly across the Political Landscape of 1 FF 1 FG 1 SF and 1 Independent. It roughly reflected the National Pattern with the Seats being decided on the Last 2 Counts. It was that Close.
Clare needs to be made a 5 Seater for General Election 2024-25 to create a “Decider Seat” to decide the National Trend. A 5 Seater Clare Constituency offers a Total Cliffhanger Result for the Country and the Potential for a Great Election Day Spectacle. A 5 Seater creates a lot of Uncertainty as to the Direction of the Last Seat and always offers the Chance to a Smaller Party to make a Breakthrough on Transfers too. This should make for a very Competitive Race.
As it stands FF should have a Chance to take 2 Seats and it will hardly ever lead a Government again if it Doesn’t. In truth it is the Party’s own Strategy that has called it to Fail over the last number of Elections so I have little Sympathy for it. FG have had 2 Seats in Clare many times over 40 Years and will push hard. The Labour Party had a traditional seat since the 1930s but it has effectively morphed into an Independent Seat. The Sinn Fein Seat from 1916 returned after 100 Years and it might have done better if it’s Original 2 Selected Candidates had actually run in the end, not an Unknown, who still got elected? So it is all to play For.
On top of that by making Clare a 5 Seater and most importantly lowering the Quota under 10,000 it should encourage the Newer Parties like the Social Democrats and the Green Party – who had a sizeable Vote in 2020 – to make a Greater effort. Lastly I am very struck that there are newer Parties like People before Profit and Aontu who could field that are listed in National Polls who might contest if the Quota is more Achievable. Indeed there are even other Parties like the National Party and was it Renua or The Irish Freedom Party who are not even listed in National Polls yet, who may try for a Last Seat if there is 5th Seat in the Clare Constituency.
Indeed the Last 3 Parties are virtually unknown on the National Scale with their Policies or Personnel never getting a National Airing on TV or even Local Radio to my Knowledge. You would think the Arrival of new Parties would be a boon to Media as a change to the humdrum everyday dingdong of the Mainstream Parties but they get little airing, which is a worrying sign, in a so-called Free Speech Democracy?
Ultimately the Job of the Constituency Review Committee is to ensure Fair and Realistic Boundaries for the Number of Seats ensuring there is adequate cover in Dáil Éireann for the People in a Constituency to be served.
As Galway City is a Growing 5 Seat Constituency, for quite a Long Time anyway and it stretches out all the Way to Clifton, it may have Surplus Voters being Generated around all the Housing Developments around the Growing Oranmore Area, which will enable other Voters around Gort or of the North Clare Hinterland Kinvara area to be transferred into a Super Sized Clare 5 Seat Constituency, that would create a much more dynamic General Election 2024-25 for the Bellwether Constituency of Co. Clare.
Whoever gets or whichever Party out of FF FG or SF most likely gets that 5th and Final Seat in County Clare, will probably be the Party to Lead the Next Government of Ireland. It will only be decided after a Titanic Struggle if the Quota is lowered sufficiently down to the 8,000-9,000 Mark, shaving about 4,500 Votes of the Likely Quota required in the 4 Seat Co. Clare, if the Constituency is completely left on its own. A Quota of 13,500 for a Single Dail Seat in Co. Clare by the General Election in 2024-25, will mostly see a Greatly narrowed Field of Candidates and a very long Wait even longer than last time in 2020, to see anyone Elected. Many Thanks for reading this Submission.
Mr. Peter O. Moylan