Number of TDs can now only be cut by 13
THE number of TDs will be cut by up to 13 across the country at the next general election -- far fewer than the 20 previously promised by Fine Gael.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan announced a new group will be established to revise constituencies, following publication of the census preliminary figures yesterday.
But Mr Hogan denied claims he had broken another pre-election promise to reduce the number of TDs.
The minister is setting up the Constituency Commission -- which will have to report back next summer -- after the publication of the final census figures.
Because of the unexpected increase in population, constitutional constraints don't allow the Government to reduce the number of TDs below 153.
Central Statistics Office director general Gerry O'Hanlon said with the population now standing at just over 4.58 million people, the lowest number of TDs allowed would be 153.
"The scope for reduction in the constitutional limits is between a range of 153 to 167," he said.
The preliminary census results also showed that two constituencies now have more than the maximum of 30,000 people per TD.
Kildare South, with 30,092, and Laois-Offaly, with 30,565, both break the limit set under the Constitution.
In five constituencies there are between 29,000 and 30,000 people per TD.
The preliminary results also show that Dublin North, which covers the fast-growing towns of Balbriggan, Donabate, Lusk, Rush and Swords, showed the biggest population increase between 2006 and 2011 at 16.1pc, with the average number of constituents per TD now standing at 28,536.
Two neighbouring constituencies also showed strong increases -- Meath East's population per TD rose by 12.9pc to 28.844, while Meath West increased by 11.9pc to 28,494.
There are 11 constituencies where the number of people per TD are in the range 28,000 to 29,000.
Just one constituency, Dublin North-Central, has shown a decline in population, down 1.2pc to 24,789 people per Dail deputy.