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Locals divided as new boundary splits constituency

LOOKING out her front door, Sandra White can see her local polling station and the various election posters on the lampposts of the road outside.

But the 34-year-old will not be able to vote for any of the candidates featured on the posters.

And she won't be able to cast her vote at St Cronan's National School.

That's because everyone in her estate of about 100 houses around Brackenstown Road has been switched from the Dublin-North constituency to Dublin-West.

However, it seems nobody told the residents. Ms White only discovered the change last week when she received her polling card in the post.

And many politicians don't know either -- the canvassers that have so far visited Park Avenue in Swords, Co Dublin, have done so in the mistaken belief that it was still in Dublin North.

"We are left in limbo," Ms White (34) told the Irish Independent.

"I am absolutely disgusted by it. I am so disheartened. The community has been split and we feel now that we are going to be stuck here on our own."

Three years ago, the Government agreed to redraw the electoral boundary between Dublin- North and Dublin-West at the recommendation of the Independent Boundary Review Commission.

But the new boundary split the large commuter town of Swords in two.

In some cases, voters found themselves part of a new constituency to which they had no physical attachment.

Park Avenue is perhaps one of the most stark examples.

To the rear is a deep wooded valley. To the front is the new boundary line, which residents say has effectively turned their area into a tiny enclave of Dublin-West surrounded by Dublin-North.

Local TD and Fine Gael deputy leader Dr James Reilly described the boundary as ridiculous.

"I've met many people over the past number of weeks who are furious. They feel disenfranchised and are just not going to vote full stop, which I think is a terrible reflection on the commission. It really is a farcical division, there's no rhyme or reason to it," he said.

When contacted by the Irish Independent, a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment said it would not be considering any further changes.

The spokesperson added that the department took on the recommendations of the now disbanded Boundary Review Commission.

Another resident, Bernie Montgomery, who has been living in Park Avenue for 21 years, said there is widespread confusion among her neighbours over the changes.

"I am worried about the fact that our road has been left on its own. There's posters up on the Brackenstown Road for Dublin-North; we have no posters for Dublin-West.

"We don't even know who's running for election in Dublin-West," Ms Montgomery added.

Irish Independent