Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein to gain from new electoral map
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny yesterday signalled the Government will support a proposal from an expert group to cut the number of TDs by eight at the next general election.
The Constituency Commission report will also put forward wide-ranging changes to the electoral map.
The report to be published next month is expected to recommend the numbers of TDs be reduced from 166 to 158.
No Government in Irish history has ever changed or altered such a study.
Mr Kenny said the proposals will form a critical part of the drive to slash the size of Government, including the upcoming bill to abolish the Seanad.
"This is a completely and utterly independent commission. Since independent commissions were set up, none of them have ever been changed or altered by any government," he told the Irish Independent.
"The reason for that is that there has to be no sign -- good, bad or indifferent -- of any interference in the work of the commissions."
The Commission is expected to propose:
• Leinster (apart from Dublin) will gain one TD, while Munster, Connacht, Ulster and Dublin will each lose three TDs.
• The mergers of counties Kerry, Tipperary and Donegal from two three-seat constituencies into a five-seater.
• The loss of a seat in Cavan-Monaghan.
• The loss of three seats in Dublin, two on the northside and one on the southside.
• The loss of another seat in Cork city.
• The loss of a seat in Galway or Mayo.
• The addition of a seat in Laois-Offaly.
Mr Kenny said the report would obviously raise issues for all parties but he insisted he didn't know what the detailed proposals will entail.
"This is part of the process of reducing the scale of the Oireachtas -- as you know, we are bringing forward the bill for the abolition of the Seanad in due course.
"The commission were asked to reduce the seats in the Dail and clearly that is part of a commitment in the programme for government of allowing people to exercise their views on whether the Seanad should be abolished," he said.