Monday 23 October 2017

The not-so-great divide

Allison Bray, Colm Kelpie and Fiach Kelly

IT's split down the middle but most locals think it's a bit of a storm in a teacup.

One part of Terenure is in the Dublin South-East constituency and the other is in Dublin South-Central.

It has been so since 1991, with the dividing line running through the village.

Now controversy is brewing after a residents' association said in a submission to the constituencies commission, which is redrawing Dail boundaries, that they wanted to be moved into Dublin South-East.

Members of the Association of Residents of Terenure (ART) complained that Dublin South-Central TDs didn't pay enough attention to "middle-class" concerns.

They claimed they were at "a great disadvantage because the make-up of the public representatives who have been elected to our constituency do not, in general, seem to feel they represent the 'middle-class' suburb of Terenure and instead draw their support from, and give their attention to, the western part of the constituency".

But local resident Roberta Mooney (62), who lives in Eaton Court and votes in South-Central, said last night she wasn't even aware they were in two constituencies.

"I didn't realise it until I saw the election posters on both sides of the road," she said.

"But I don't have a problem with it. If a TD is doing his work, it doesn't matter."

She said snobbery shouldn't be a factor driving the debate.

"I can't believe the snobbery," she said.

Retired estate agent Louis Lynam, whose home on Kimmage Road West is also included in the South-Central constituency, said the divided village has been a source of controversy for a number of years. But he said it didn't bother him.

"I'm not too troubled," he said. "But I'd be opposed to changing it for a variety of reasons. You still have access to the same TDs anyway."

Fellow pensioner Delores Butler, who also lives on Eaton Court and has been in the area for 30 years, said the entire debate was a non-issue.

"It's all the same. What do they do for us anyway? They don't do anything for me," she said of her local TDs.

Jim Dowling, chairman of Terenure Residents Association, claimed the division meant his group has to deal with two sets of councillors and two sets of TDs on various issues.

And he claimed the area had more in common with the South-East constituency.

Labour TD Michael Conaghan, of Dublin South-Central, said the division in the village area of Terenure made it difficult for businesses, but he suggested his constituency should have full responsibility for it. And he branded claims from the ART as "petty", "sad" and "silly".

People Before Profit Dublin South-Central councillor Pat Dunne said he believed the residents had "gone too far".

Over in Dublin South-East, Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy called for the area to be included in his constituency.

He argued that an equal population of about 114,000 would be attained in each constituency if this was the case.

Labour TD Eric Byrne, who represents Dublin South-Central, lives in Terenure.

He said he had been a member of the ART for 32 years and did not agree with the views expressed in the submission.

He said Terenure should be combined in the one constituency, but it didn't matter which.

"That's the issue -- it's not class or the quality of the representation," Mr Byrne said.

Fine Gael's Catherine Byrne said: "I don't understand the comments that people aren't being represented. There are five TDs and everyone would feel they represent all of the constituency."

Irish Independent

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