Commission to review Dáil and European Constituencies Established

Published on Thursday, 26 Apr 2007

Commission to review Dáil and European Constituencies Established

26/04/07

Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government,  today (26 April 2007), following the publication by the Central Statistics Office of Volume 1 of the reports on Census 2006 (Population Classified By Area), made an order establishing a Constituency Commission under the Electoral Act 1997 to review the Dáil and European constituencies.

In accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Act, the Chief Justice, following consultation with the President of the High Court, has nominated The Hon. Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill to be a member and the chairperson of the Commission.  The Act provides that the other members of the Commission are:

-    the Clerk of the Dáil: Mr Kieran Coughlan; 
- the Clerk of the Seanad: Ms Deirdre Lane;
- the Ombudsman: Ms Emily O'Reilly; and
- the Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government: Mr Niall Callan.

The Commission is required to report to the Chairman of the Dail no later than 6 months from the date of its establishment.

Provisions of the Constitution relating to the revision of Dáil constituencies are reproduced in the attached Appendix, together with the terms of reference of the Commission prescribed in the 1997 Act. The Dáil constituencies were last revised in 2005 and the European constituencies in 2004.

APPENDIX
CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND

 Article 16

THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT

16. 2. 1 Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent constituencies determined by law.

2 The number of members shall from time to time be fixed by law, but the total number of members of Dáil Éireann shall not be fixed at less than one member for each thirty thousand of the population, or at more than one member for each twenty thousand of the population.

3 The ratio between the number of members to be elected at any time for each constituency and the population of each constituency, as ascertained at the last preceding census, shall, so far as it is practicable, be the same throughout the  country.

4 The Oireachtas shall revise the constituencies at least once in every twelve years, with due regard to changes in distribution of the population, but any alterations in the constituencies shall not take effect during the life of Dáil Éireann sitting when such revision is made.

5 The members shall be elected on the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

6 No law shall be enacted whereby the number of members to be returned for any constituency shall be less than three.

Electoral Act 1997
Part II
Constituency Commission
Section 6

6. (1) It shall be the function of a Constituency Commission to make a report in relation to the constituencies for—

(a) the election of members to the Dáil, and

(b) the election of representatives to the European Parliament.

(2) In preparing a report under subsection (1)(a) a Constituency Commission shall, in observing the relevant provisions of the Constitution in relation to Dáil constituencies, have regard to the following:

(a) the total number of members of the Dáil, subject to Article 16. 2. 2 of the Constitution, shall be not less than 164 and not more than 168;

(b) each constituency shall return three, four or five members;

(c) the breaching of county boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable;

(d) each constituency shall be composed of contiguous areas;

(e) there shall be regard to geographic considerations including significant physical features and the extent of and the density of population in each constituency; and

(f) subject to the provisions of this section, the Commission shall endeavour to maintain continuity in relation to the arrangement of constituencies.

(3) In preparing a report under subsection (1)(b) a Commission shall have regard to the following:

(4) the total number of representatives to be elected in the State to the European Parliament shall be 15 or such other number* as may be specified for the time being pursuant to the treaties governing the European Communities;

(4) there shall be reasonable equality of representation as between constituencies; and

(4) the matters specified in paragraphs (b) to (f) of subsection (2).

(4) The reference in subsection (2)(c) to county boundaries shall be deemed not to include a reference to the boundary of a county borough or any boundary between any two of the administrative counties standing established by virtue of Part II of the Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1993.

*currently 13 and to be reduced to 12 in the revision of constituencies in 2007

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