Constituency Review Submission from Roderic O’Gorman T.D., Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Roderic O’Gorman T.D., Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Submission ID: S340
Dublin West, Dublin Fingal, Dublin Central
Re: Submission on Dáil Constituency Boundary Review
To whom it may concern,
I would like to make the following submission on the Dáil Constituency Boundary Review currently being undertaken by the Electoral Commission. My submission is directly in respect of the Dublin West constituency, but would have implications for other constituencies in Fingal and for Dublin Central.
In 2016, Dublin West had a population of 121,895 and 4 seats, creating a population to TD ratio of 30,474. This is slightly over the limit of 30,000 people per TD. However, as of 2022 Dublin West has a population of 134,331, equating to 33,583 constituents per TD. This is significantly over the limit of 30,000 per TD. To add a 5th seat would give an average of 26,863 constituents per TD. This would future proof Dublin West against future population growth and allow for the boundaries to remain in place for at least the next decade. The recently adopted Fingal Development Plan 2023 – 2029 estimates that Fingal’s population will grow by 73,000 by 2031. This includes significant population growth within the Dublin West area, which points in favour of putting in place headspace for the constituency to grow at this boundary review.
I note also that in the Commission’s terms of reference, there is a requirement to respect the continuity of constituency borders, insofar as is possible. This should arguably take the form of minimising the number of communities that are shifted across constituency boundaries and the number of times it has to be done. By allocating a 5th seat to Dublin West, it would prevent the necessity of changing the borders between Dublin West and; Dublin Mid-West, Dublin Central, Dublin South Central and Dublin Fingal, during the next several boundary reviews as the population of Dublin West grows at an ever-rapid pace. While there are three LEAs from Dublin City Council currently within the Dublin West constituency (Phoenix Park, Ashtown A, Ashtown B), I would note that these have formed part of the Dublin West constituency for the last two general elections. They also share much commonality with the Dublin 15 part of the constituency with shared bus routes, train line and school catchments. Given that the present boundaries for Dublin West have been in place for a significant period of time, I would support retaining the existing boundaries in the interests of continuity for communities and their elected representatives.
However, if it was viewed that the constituency’s boundaries should be adjusted to increase the population, I would advocate for returning Dubber to Dublin West from the constituency of Dublin Fingal. This would serve to unify the Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart local electoral area in Dublin West, along the Ongar and Castleknock LEAs. It would be more straightforward for the elected members of the area if the LEAs were entirely contained within the constituency boundaries. The addition of Dubber’s population of 8,812 would facilitate a 5-seat Dublin West constituency of 143,143 and a ratio of 28,629.
The total growth across Fingal County between 2016 and 2022 was 11.21%. As Dublin Fingal will likely have to be broken up into some form of a Fingal North and a Fingal South, 5 seats for Dublin West and 6 seats for the existing Dublin Fingal presents an even division of the 11 seats that Fingal requires. This would also minimise the amount of boundary changes in the next review, and thus minimise disruption to communities and the continuity of constituency borders.
However, should the Commission decide to return areas of Fingal County currently held in Dublin North-West and Dublin Bay North, which themselves are growing beyond they’re population to TD ration, a 12th seat may be necessary for Fingal County. Assuming similar growth over the next 4 years, we would expect a population increase of 9.34% by 2027, or 30,768. This would bring the new population to a total of 359,986. Based on these results, Fingal would certainly need 12 seats. These would be most appropriately allocated to a 5 seat Dublin West, a 4 seat Fingal South and a 3 seat Fingal North.
Roderic O’Gorman TD
Green Party – Dublin West
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth