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Constituency Review Submission from Senator Jerry Buttimer

Senator Jerry Buttimer

Submission ID: S441

Date

10/05/2023

Constituency

Cork South-Central, Cork North-Central, Cork North-West, Cork East, Cork South-West

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To whom it concerns,

Good luck in your work and deliberations. 

As the newly appointed electoral commission,  I sincerely hope that this is a new beginning in the drawing up of electoral constituencies. I have long held the view that a boundary review should be more than a desk top exercise in analysis of population statistics drawing lines on a map and should take into account social and geographical considerations. I sincerely hope that this review will be creative and relevant to the future relationship between the Citizen, Houses of Oireachtas and potential Public Representatives.

I wish in the main as part of my submission to refer to the City of Cork.

The last considerable electoral redrawing of Cork was under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1980. Other reviews were piecemeal dividing and disenfranchising numerous communities through breaching the river lee and dividing parishes, neighbourhoods and neighbours and diluting communities.  Since then, The Local Government Act 2019 provided the legislative basis for the expansion of the administrative area of Cork City Council. It is estimated the population of Cork city will grow by 85,000 to 210,000, therefore the new Cork City boundary should be recognised and maintained in General election constituencies.

I’m Proposing that the Commission should break new ground and engage in public fora (forum) either in person or virtually in each county, thereby increasing the citizen involvement in the centre piece of electoral reform, the constituency in which each citizen can vote. We have seen this successfully carried out in the Consultation phase of Bus Connects. Why not as part of the Electoral Boundary Review?

The extension of Cork City should be acknowledged, and any Dail constituency should run along geographical lines thereby acknowledging the natural divide of North & South along the river Lee.    

The Cork North & South-Central constituency are undeniably breaching the terms of this & previous commission reports:

* ref 2012 ref 5.1 Cork report page 17 on Cork South Central….

“The Commission recognises that this transfer breaches the natural boundary of the North

Channel of the river Lee, which was an issue considered by previous Commissions. “

Bishopstown

Bishopstown has been disproportionately affected by multiple boundary commission reports. This should be discontinued and the reunification of the entire Bishopstown district must be to the fore in this boundary commission report. In the city of Cork, the electoral divisions transferred in 2012 boundary review of: Bishopstown, Ballincollig, Glasheen, Mardyke, Gilabbey all form part of a single Dail Constituency.

Southwest electoral area

The Southwest electoral area of Cork City in the administrative area of Cork City Council  should be included in a single constituency in keeping with other local electoral areas of the city.

 I’m proposing that therefore the entirety of Cork City South West comprising of

Bishopstown A, Bishopstown B, Bishopstown C, Bishopstown D, Bishopstown E, Glasheen A, Glasheen B, Glasheen C, Togher A,

Bishopstown, Lehenagh (part), Ballincollig (part), Ballygarvan (part), Inishkenny (part), Ovens (part)

be included in one Single Dail Constituency.

City Administrative area

The Areas transferred from the county to the city are dealing with one local authority and in a Dail election these areas should all be incorporated into a Dail constituency without breaking up communities. Therefore areas transferred from the county to the city area: Rochestown, Douglas, Grange, Donnybrook, Frankfield, Cork Airport, Togher, Ballincollig, Kerry Pike, Tower, Blarney, Killeens, Ballyvolane, White’s Cross, and Glanmire be accommodated in Dail Constituencies in keeping with its new home of Cork City.

In my submission I wish to highlight the need for the commission to recognise the difference between metropolitan Cork and rural Cork. Also I’m seeking the commission to rectify the anomaly created in a previous boundary revision by moving Ballincollig from Cork South Central to Cork North West.

Ballincollig

Ballincollig is now situated in Cork City; it does not share same needs or socio-economic characteristics of other areas of Cork North West. Rather it demonstrates characteristics in keeping with city living. Having Ballincollig form part of a large three seat rural constituency now makes no sense. This change would have the benefit of restoring Ballincollig to the constituency of which it formed part for a substantial number of years.

Consideration should be given in keeping with my above point of view to keeping the County administrative area in a similar Dail constituency. This configuration would facilitate public Representatives to deal with one Local Authority on behalf of their electorate.

Therefore, the Municipal District: Carrigaline should form part of a new constituency in keeping with its administrative area of Cork County Council. These areas to include

Carrigaline, Crosshaven, City South Environs, Passage West/Glenbrook/Monkstown, Ringaskiddy, Ballynora, Minane Bridge, Ballinhassig, Ballygarvan, Halfway,Fivemile Bridge, Curraghbinny and Farmers Cross, Goggins Hill, Myrtleville, Roberts Cove, Waterfall.

Cork

Cork is currently comprised of five constituencies, electing eighteen members of Dáil Éireann. In terms of geographic size and population Cork is large county which should be treated as a single entity for the purposes of determining the constituencies and the number of representatives it elects to Dáil Éireann. However, despite its large size and population at its core Cork is a metropolitan centre, especially the administrative area of Cork City. The characteristics of metropolitan Cork differ significantly from those of the towns in the rural peripheral to city and more rural parts of the county. The Central Statistics Offices Small Area Population Statistics and all recent Census as a source for analysing the characteristics of individual electoral areas reinforce this point. The social divergence between these areas is again highlighted when one considers the distance travelled to work, school or college by persons, aged 5 years and over.

Evidence from all recent Census suggests that metropolitan Cork exhibits significant differences from other parts of the county in terms of socio-economic groupings and also in the distance and means of travel to work, school or college. In determining Dáil constituencies it is important to take these differences into consideration, to recognise distinct characteristics of metropolitan Cork and to treat it as distinct area within the county.

 I strongly hold the view that the county and city of Cork given its geographical scale, increased City Boundary, new system of administration of Local Government and increase in population merits an increase of at least two extra seats in this constituency boundary review, especially if the Commission opts for either 178 or 180 seats.

In this review, given the new system of administration of Local Government an opportunity is presented to align the boundaries of new Dail constituencies or the existing  Cork North-Central and Cork South-Central with the newly enlarged boundary of Cork City. The river Lee should as stated earlier to act as the natural boundary.

Kind Regards

SENATOR JERRY BUTTIMER

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