Constituency Review Submission from Robert Lynch
Submission ID: S76
Dublin Bay North, Dublin North-West, Dublin Fingal, Dublin Central, Dublin West
Please accept the following as my submission to the Dáil and European Parliament Constituency Review.
While taking account of your terms of reference:
- Under Article 16.2.2° of the Constitution the total number of members of the Dáil Éireann cannot be fixed at less than one member per 30,000 of the population or at more than one member per 20,000 of the population.
- each constituency shall return 3, 4 or 5 members;
- the breaching of county boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable.
- the reference to county boundaries shall be deemed not to include a reference to the boundary of a city or any boundary between any 2 of the counties of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin.
Looking at CSO’s 2022 preliminary population results Dublin Fingal has the highest population per TD.
It is my view that constituencies that return 5 members allow for a greater diversity of candidates and increases the likelihood of smaller parties taking seats so allowing for a greater diversity of views and better representation in the Dáil.
I think maintaining and increasing the number of 5 seaters in Dublin would be beneficial.
Looking at the census numbers and focusing on the Dublin constituencies north of the Liffey, which have a total population of 674,000, I think it would be beneficial to keep the current 5 seat constituencies largely as they are while transferring small parts of these constituencies into other constituencies:
- so that they are under 150,000 people in total (and leaving a gap of a few thousand to take account of the impact of likely housing completions/population increases in the next few years), and
- increasing the sizes of the other Dublin constituencies, with increasing the size of Dublin North-West from 3 being a priority.
I would propose that the 5 Dublin constituencies North of the Liffey would include three 5 seaters and two 4 seaters (giving 23 seats in total).
While there is some merit in the argument that “within County Dublin, that the borders of the local authority areas, including Fingal County Council should be protected and aligned as much as possible with Dáil Éireann constituencies. Ensuring this ensures much more effective public representation”, my view is slightly different.
Some of the areas whose population are growing the most in the capital are near the Fingal and DCC boundaries, and in my view there are benefits from having TD(s) that represents constituents in both council areas (in some cases the next street over) who can liaise with both DCC and Fingal CC in helping to deal with common constituents’ issues and hopefully increasing the likelihood of cooperation between these councils in solving issues that are the same for people on either side of the current boundaries.
Finally while I think this may be outside your terms of reference, but given the implications of the CSO’s future population projections for the coming years/decades I would like the Electoral Commission to consider proposing an amendment to article 16.2.2° of the Constitution to allow the total number of members of the Dáil to be capped at an upper bound in the future.
Thank you for considering my submission.