Commentary on election boundary implications of Census 2011 figures – 158 seat Dail context

Following on from the previous post, this post will consider what might happen our current constituency configurations if a 158 seat tally was agreed on and in light of the provisional population levels:

Carlow-Kilkenny – current population is fine for this to remain a 5-seater, would also allow for the return of the Hacketstown area from Wicklow

Cyavan-Monaghan – population per TD ratio would be lower than 5% variance limit and at a -8.0% variance level would be outside maximum degree of variance than Commission has permitted, small territory transfer could maintain this as a 5-seater as population far too large to allow this become a 4-seater

Clare – population per TD within the 5% variance limits and can remain a 4-seater with present boundaries

Cork East – no need to change boundaries, would remain as a 4-seater

Cork North Central – below 5% variance limits (-9.6% below state average) to remain a 4-seater, but could maintain seat with territory transfers from elsewhere

Cork North West – below 5% variance limits (-6.3% below state average) to remain a 3-seater – Commission could have option of leaving boundaries as they are (as degree of variance not excessively outside 5% limits) but North Central/South Central situation would prompt a redraw

Cork South Central – below 5% variance limits (-6.9% below state average) to remain a 5-seater, much too large at present to become a 4-seater – territory transfer may be required

Cork South West – no need to change boundaries

Commentary on Cork region – the census figures would suggest that Cork’s population wouldbe equivalent to 17.9 TDs suggesting one of the constituencies (either Cork North Central or Cork South Central) would probably lose a seat

Donegal North East and Donegal South West – while South West constituency would be too small to remain as 3-seater with current boundaries, North East population per TD ratio would be (just!) within 5% variance limit so could remain as is. Territory transfer from North East to South West could help maintain both these as 3-seaters but Commission would need to be able to accomodate variance levels of around 7.5% below state average for both

Dublin Central – can stay a 4-seater with current boundaries

Dublin Mid West – can stay a 4-seater with current boundaries, population per TD ratio (just about) within 5% variance limits

Dublin North – can stay a 4-seater with current boundaries

Dublin North Central, North West and North East – with combined population of these equivalent to 8.1 Dail seats, the three 3-seater configuration in the North City is no longer feasible, possibility of replacing these with two North City 4-seaters (0r a 3-seater/4-seater configuration if Howth/Portmarnock/Balgriffin area was moved to Dublin North – making this a 5-seater)

Dublin South can remain as a 5-seater

Dublin South Central – likely to lose a seat (population per TD ratio leaves this closer to a population for a 4-seat constituency than a 5-constituency, unless constituency receives significant territory transfer from elsewhere

Dublin South East – too small to remain a 4-seater with current boundaries – territory transfer to/from Dublin South Central would solve problem (as combined population of both equivalent to just under eight (7.9) seats), leaving two 4-seaters/3-seater and 5-seater in the South City area

Dublin South West – too small to stay as 4-seaters with current boundaries, but disparity could be solved with small territory transfer from Dublin Mid West but Commission would need to be able to accomodate variance levels of around 7% below state average for both

Dublin West – no need to change boundaries

Dun Laoghaire – too small to stay as 4-seater with current boundaries, but disparity could be solved by small territory transfer from Dublin South

Commentary: Dublin region set to lose two Dail seats, with losses focused on inner suburbs (North City and South City areas)

Galway East and Galway West: can stay as 4 and 5 seaters but with possibility of (small) territory transfer from Galway West to Galway East

Both Kerry North-West Limerick and Kerry South too small to remain as 3-seaters under current boundary configurations, moving West Limerick area out would allow these be amalgamated into a 5-seat Kerry constituency (Kerry County population almost perfect for a 5-seat constituency)

Population in Kildare sufficient to retain a 4-seat Kildare North and a 3-seat Kildare South, and boundaries of both constituencies can stay as they are

Laois-Offaly – population per TD ratio slightly above (5.4%) the 5% variance limit, further territory transfer out of constituency may be required though Commission would probably take option to leave boundaries as they are. Return of Coolderry/Moneygall area would not be feasible

Population of both Limerick and Limerick City too small to allow these remain as three/four seaters with present boundaries. Moving part of county that is in Kerry North-West Limerick constituency would ensure two Limerick constituencies have sufficient population to prevent loss of a seat (though may make sense to make Limerick City the 3-seater and have enlarged 4-seater Limerick County)

Longford-Westmeath – current population levels fine for this to stay a 4-seater, but return of Castlepollard area would not be feasible

OK for Louth to remain as 5-seater with present boundaries – without the east Meath area it could return to being a 4-seater Louth County constituency (if Commission accepted a +5.9% variance level)

Mayo population too small for this to remain a 5-seater (population per TD ratio is -9.9% below state average) but too large for a 4-seat constituency, small territory transfer from/to a neighbouring constituency could help maintain this as a 5-seater or see this become a 4-seater

Meath county population is more than sufficient (probably slightly too large) to have one 6-seat constituency/two 3-seat Meath West and Meath East constituencies without need for added territory from other counties. But if Castlepollard area cannot be returned to Longford-Westmeath, then current status quo involving these constituencies and Louth could be maintained as populations of current Meath East and Meath West constituencies mean population per TD ratios are very close to the state average

Roscommon-South Leitrim and Sligo-North Leitrim are both too small to remain as three seaters (although degree of variance involving both of these has been allowed by past Commissions, so could opt to retain current configurations) and too large to be amalgamated into a 5-seater. A territory transfer involving western Sligo (c. 10,000 population) being moved into Mayo could allow creation of this 5-seater however.  Alternately parts of Mayo could be transplanted to both constituencies to allow these remain as 3-seaters

Tipperary constituencies: Tipperary South is too small to remain as 3-seater, but population per TD ratio for Tipperary North would be fine. Creation of a 5-seater Tipperary constituency is not feasible. Territory transfer from North to South would appear likely

Waterford – population sufficient to remain as 4-seater, scope to reclaim part of county currently in Tipperary South but this area is needed to bolster Tipperary South population

Wicklow and Wexford – populations are all sufficient for both these to remain as 5-seaters, Wicklow would need Hacketstown area to remain as a 5-seater however

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About Adrian Kavanagh

Lecturer in Maynooth University Department of Geography.
This entry was posted in Constituency Commission, Constituency information, Election boundaries, Election data and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Commentary on election boundary implications of Census 2011 figures – 158 seat Dail context

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on shape of new general election boundaries if the Constituency Commission opt for a 160-seat Dail | Irish General Election 2011 Facts and Figures

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on shape of new general election boundaries if the Constituency Commission opt for a 154-seat Dail | Irish General Election 2011 Facts and Figures

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on shape of new general election boundaries if the Constituency Commission opt for a 156-seat Dail | Irish General Election 2011 Facts and Figures

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