07 August 2007

Council for West Submission to Constituency Commission


The Council for the West has backed the campaign by and on behalf of the people of the County of Leitrim to end the electoral division of that county and re-unite it as one electoral unit.


And, furthermore, in a Submission to the Constituency Commission, the Council says it is anxious to ensure that the forthcoming Constituency revision does not result in any reduction in Dail representation in the counties along the western seaboard.


The Council for the West has expressed concern that the division of County Leitrim and placing it in two new constituencies, Sligo/North Leitrim and Roscommon/South Leitrim, as a result of the previous recommendations of the Constituency Commission, has resulted in the county having absolutely no representation in the new Dail. 


Declan O'Callaghan, Vice-Chairman of the Council, says that this places Leitrim in an extremely disadvantageous position. "A  mechanism should be found to end this electoral splitting of the county in the next Constituency Revision," he says.


In its Submission, the Council says that since the foundation of the State there has been a gradual reduction in the number of TDs from the Western Region.  In this context ,the Council believes it is essential that there be no further erosion in the number of TDs for constituencies in the seven counties covered by the Council`s remit. 


The Council for the West contends that - while accepting the constitutional imperative of equality of representation - some degree of cognisance must be taken of the very different demands and work load of rural constituencies as against urban constituencies.  "TDs in rural constituencies such as those covered by the Council`s remit have to cover huge swards of territory.  Many of the counties within the area represented by the Council for the West rank at the top of the list of those which have the least Dail representation per land area.  It is essential that in any future boundary revisions, the position of the constituents in Western Counties should not be rendered any more disadvantageous in terms of accessibility to their National Public Representatives, and no further reduction in the number of TDs to be returned for these constituencies could be countenanced. Recent population trends in these counties, as evidenced by the recent Census figures, support the case for the retention of the existing number of seats in the region."


In its submission, the Council says the position of County Leitrim is of particular concern.  "The county is now the only one in the State which has no representation in either the Dail or the Seanad.  This is unfair and undemocratic.  One of the guiding principles of Constituency Revision is that county boundaries should be respected insofar as is practicable.  County Leitrim has suffered in a singular way through non-adherence to this fundamental principle. The Council supports the campaign by and on behalf of the people of the County of Leitrim to end the electoral division of that county and re-unite it as one electoral unit thus vindicating the natural integrity of the county and giving the people of that county an equitable opportunity to return at least one resident TD," the Council argues.


Note to Editors:

The Council for the West is a voluntary, independent, non-political body which monitors and reports on the socio-economic state of the West and acts as a lobby group promoting the development of the West. The Council for the West was set up by the Western Bishops and has successfully campaigned for retention of Objective 1 Status for the region. It continues to campaign for balanced regional development and highlights issues of major concern for the region.


Contact Points:

Public Relations Officer:   Terry Reilly 086 8109518 / 096 21603 / email: terryreilly@eircom.net

Co-ordinator:                   Caroline Wilson, Tel: 096 32975 / email: cftwest@iol.ie


Terry Reilly PRO:            086 8109518 / 096 21603 / email: terryreilly@eircom.net