Wednesday 18 October 2017

Two new TDs in Dáil - and Paschal is the big winner

Paschal Donohoe: changes make his seat more secure
Paschal Donohoe: changes make his seat more secure

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is the big winner from a review of constituencies that will see the overall number of TDs increase by two.

The Dublin Central base of Mr Donohoe is to increase from three seats to four, meaning his future in Leinster House is significantly more secure.

The area is not a traditional Fine Gael stronghold and Mr Donohoe faced an uphill battle to retain his seat last year, alongside Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald and Independent Maureen O'Sullivan.

A report from the Boundaries Commission also recommended increasing the number of TDs in Cavan-Monaghan and Kildare South by one each.

However, it said the constituencies of Offaly and Laois should be reunited into one five-seat constituency. Before the last election, they were separated into two three-seat constituencies.

A section of North Tipperary that was moved into Offaly for electoral purposes will revert to the status quo.

Overall, it said the number of TDs should be increased from 158 to 160. It said there should be 39 constituencies, of which 13 will be five-seat, 17 four-seat and nine three-seat.

Wicklow should become its own constituency - losing East Carlow, the report said.

But the report made limited changes, in a move that has surprised TDs.

In Dublin, the vast majority of constituencies remain unchanged. There will be some redrawing of the boundaries between Dublin Rathdown (three-seat) and Dún Laoghaire (four-seat), and between Dublin North-West (three-seat) and Dublin Bay North (five-seat).

Along with its extra seat, Cavan-Monaghan will take in some of the population currently categorised as Meath East. The rest of Meath East should remain as a three-seat constituency. No changes will be made to Meath West, Louth and Longford-Westmeath.

The constituency of Donegal will remain a five-seater, but some of south Donegal will continue to vote in Sligo-Leitrim.

Small changes have been made to the boundaries in Roscommon-Galway constituency, Galway East and Galway West, but the number of seats in each constituency remains static.

Mayo, with some additional population from Galway West, should remain a four-seat constituency. In the south west, Clare is unchanged. Some population from Tipperary is to be moved to the Limerick City constituency. There should be no change to the five Cork constituencies or to Kerry, Waterford and Wexford.

Irish Independent

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