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Constituency Review Submission from Robert Jones, Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dublin Rathdown Green Party

Robert Jones, Campaigns and Communications Officer, Dublin Rathdown Green Party

Submission ID: S508

Date

10/05/2023

Constituency

Dublin Rathdown, Dún Laoghaire

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Submission on behalf of Dublin-Rathdown Green Party to the Electoral Commission review of the Dáil and European Constituency boundaries.

1. The Dublin Rathdown Green Party propose the following changes under the current Electoral Commission review of the Dáil and European Constituency boundaries: That the Dublin Rathdown constituency be made at minimum a 4-seat constituency and its geographic boundary be expanded to the southeast to capture the full Stillorgan and Glencullen-Sandyford local electoral areas which are currently divided by the Dáil constituency boundary.
While ideally Dáil constituencies would preserve the council area boundary, this is not feasible in the Dún-Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area due to the combined population of circa 218,000 and this is recognised by the Electoral Commission’s terms of reference.
In reviewing the boundary of the Dublin Rathdown constituency, significant further population growth projected must be considered. 29,700 housing units are in the development pipeline in the Dún-Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area which are not counted in the 2022 census figures. Assuming these are evenly split between Dún-Laoghaire and Dublin Rathdown, and assuming an average of 2.7 people per unit (average household size), that equates to an additional population of c.40,000 in the Dublin Rathdown constituency within the next 10 years.
The above projections support providing for up to 5 Dáil seats in each of the Dublin Rathdown and Dún-Laoghaire constituencies combined to account for population growth in the intervening period until the next subsequent boundary review.
Breakdown of units in planning and under construction in the Dún-Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area:

  • 2,709 units built in DLR in 2022, highest per capita in the country.
    As of October 2022:
  • 5,725 units under construction in DLR.
  • 11,321 units with planning permission but not commenced in DLR.
  • 10,027 units in the planning system in DLR.

2. On a national level the Commission should recommend an amendment of the 1997 Electoral Act and the Electoral Reform Act 2022 to allow for the creation of 6 seat constituencies on the following basis: a. Proportionality: the prohibition on 6 seat constituencies will necessitate the creation of more 3 seat constituencies, which are demonstrably less proportionate when it comes to votes-to-seat representation. This is in unfair to smaller parties, minority views and is not in keeping with the spirit and intention of a proportional electoral system such as PRSTV, nor appropriate for a modern and diverse political system.

b. Diversity and gender balance: smaller constituencies are a significant disadvantage to those currently underrepresented in politics and act as a barrier to entry and success to these groups. Particularly this leaves women underrepresented and is contrary to other efforts to increase diversity and proportionality in representation amongst our public representatives.

3. Additionally, to preserve county and Council area boundaries within Dáil constituencies, 6 seats constituencies are necessitated in several areas considering recent population changes.

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