Tuesday 16 January 2018

Seat of power is moving to the commuter belt

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Bertie Ahern's retention of Drumcondra in his Dublin Central stomping ground was an anomaly passed over by successive Constituency Commissions.

Mr Ahern guarded his patch so much, his organisation actually made a submission lobbying for the suburb not to be put into Dublin North-West constituency in 2004.

The Commission of the day got the hint.

But yesterday, the area was finally moved and Dublin Central was reduced to a three-seat constituency.

But the cut of Mr Ahern's former neighbourhood is actually symptomatic of a trend over recent redraws where the city has lost representation, while the outskirts of the county have gained seats.

The reduction of Dublin Central and the accompanying reduction of neighbouring Dublin North-Central and Dublin North-East into one constituency mean the northside of the city lost two TDs this time around, due to population change. The cockpit of power has shifted from being solely Dublin to the commuter belt around the capital.

Once again, this redraw saw the number of TDs based in the commuter belt increase, with extra TDs in Dublin South-West, Dublin Fingal and the addition of a new seat through the creation of distinct Laois and Offaly constituencies.

And its part of a well established pattern.

Over the past decade, the constituency of Dublin Mid-West was created and Dublin West has expanded. Outside of the Dublin county limits, the urban sprawl has seen extra TDs in Meath, Louth and Kildare.

While Dublin city and county continues to see its numbers of TDs reduced, to 44 in this redraw, what could be regarded as the new commuter belt, taking in west and north Dublin, along with surrounding Leinster countries has grown to 47.

Across the board in this redraw, Dublin lost three TDs, Munster lost three and Connacht-Ulster lost three.

The political parties will be tweaking their approach from making capital gains to commuter belt converts.

Irish Independent

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