Following on from the previous post, this post will consider what might happen our current constituency configurations if a 160 seat tally was agreed on and in light of the provisional population levels:
Carlow-Kilkenny – the current population is fine for this constituency under its present boundaries to remain as a 5-seater, but the population is not too large to prevent the return of the Hacketstown area and allow for a five seat constituency comprising of the total area of both counties
Cavan-Monaghan – would be in similar situation to last two Constituency Commission reports – population per TD ratio would be lower than 5% variance limit but not to an excessive degree (6.8%) and Commission might decide to keep boundaries as they are, based on the precedent set by the 2004 and 2007 reports. However, if they are looking for extra territory to bolster a four-seat Leitrim and Sligo constituency they may well look for this in west Cavan, resulting in a smaller 4-seat Cavan-Monaghan constituency.
Clare – the population per TD ratio for this as a 4-seat constituency falls just below the state average, if current boundaries (excluding Ballyglass ED) are used, or just above the state average if decide to base constituency boundary on the county boundaries of Clare – either option would be acceptable. (With the return of the West Limerick area from Kerry North, the Clare territory would not be needed to maintain a 4-seat and 3-seat boundary configuration within Limerick).
The Cork constituencies – with a population equivalent to 18.1 TDs based on the 2011 figures, it looks likely as if one one of the Cork constituencies will be losing a seat with Cork South Central and Cork North-Central looking the most vulnerable.
Cork East – with population per TD average just below (0.5%) the state average, there is no need to change the boundaries and Cork East will remain as a 4-seater unless dictated by more radical changes being made to all of the Cork election boundaries
Cork North Central – as a 4-seat constituency, this is well below 5% variance limit in terms of its population per TD ratio (8.5% below the state average), but Cork North-Central could maintain its four seat with territory transfers from Cork North-West or Cork South-Central
Cork North West – just slightly below 5% variance limits (-5.1% below state average) to remain a 3-seater – Commission would have option of leaving boundaries as they are
Cork South Central – slightly below 5% variance limits (-5.7% below state average) to remain a 5-seater, much too large at present to become a 4-seater – a territory transfer may be required but in this case Commission would also have option of leaving boundaries as they are – unless the commission decides to make changes to keep Cork North-Central as a 4-seater and requires territory from Cork-South Central in order to do so.
Cork South West – no need to change boundaries, the population per TD ration is below the state average but is still well within the 5% variance limits (3.6% below state average) to remain a 3-seater – the Commission would have the option of leaving boundaries as they are, unless chages are required due to changes involving neighbouring Cork constituencies.
Commentary on Cork region – the census figures would suggest that Cork’s population wouldbe equivalent to 18.1 TDs suggesting one of the constituencies (South Central or North Central) would probably lose a seat. A more radical option might involve the (re)creation of a Cork City constituency and creation of two 5-seat and one 4-seat constituencies in the Cork County area, allowing for the number of Cork constituencies to be reduced by one.
Donegal North East and Donegal South West – while the population of the South West constituency would be too small to allow this remain as a 3-seater with its present boundaries (with a population per TD ratio 9.0% below the state average), the North East population per TD ratio would be within 5% variance limit (3.6% below the state average) and so could remain as is. Territory transfer from North East to South West could help maintain both these as 3-seaters, but the Commission would have to tolerate a breach of the 5% variance limit in one or probably both of these cases. Another option might be to create a 5-seat seat Donegal constituency, while transferring out an area equivalent to c.15,000 population to balance the population per TD ratio.
The Dublin region – there are are currently 47 Dail seats across shared out across the twelve Dublin constituencies but the population of the Dublin region would be equivalent to just 44.4 seat based on current population figures and a 160-seat configuration. This means that the Dublin constituencies between them are certain to lose two seats in these changes and may well lose three seats.
Dublin Central – with a population per TD ratio that is just 1.3% below the state average, this can stay as a 4-seater with its current boundaries unless changes to neighbouring constituencies have a bearing here.
Dublin Mid West – with a population per TD ratio that is just 3.6% below the state average, this can stay as a 4-seater with its current boundaries unless changes to neighbouring constituencies have a knock-on effect.
Dublin North – with a population per TD ratio that is just 0.3% below the state average, this can stay as a 4-seater with its current boundaries unless changes to neighbouring constituencies have a bearing here.
Dublin North Central, Dublin North-West and Dublin North-East – with the combined population of these constituencies equivalent to 8.2 Dail seats based on the provisional 2011 census figures, the three 3-seat constituency configuration involving these North City constituencies is no longer feasible. The most likely solution would be to replace these with two North City 4-seaters (0r a 3-seater/4-seater configuration if the areas located within Fingal County (Howth/Portmarnock/Balgriffin area) was to be moved to Dublin North – probably making this a 5-seat constituency)
Dublin South – with a population per TD ratio that is just 1.3% below the state average, this can stay as a 5-seat constituency with its current boundaries unless changes to neighbouring constituencies of Dublin South-East, Dublin South-Central, Dublin South-West and Dun Laoghaire are to have a bearing here, as could be quite likely.
Dublin South Central – with a population per TD average (11.4% below the state average) that is too small to remain a 5-seater with its current boundaries, this constituency appears likely to lose a seat (possibly to retain four seats in Dublin South-East) and territory, unless constituency receives a significant territory transfer (equivalent to a population of c.10,000) from a neighbour constituency (possibly the South East Inner City area from Dublin South East) to help it retain its five seats.
Dublin South East – with a population per TD average (9.9% below the state average) that is too small to remain a 4-seater with current boundaries, this constituency will require extra constituency from a neighbouring constituency to retain its four seats or else may lost some of its current territory to become a three seat constituency. The most likely solutions will involve a territory transfer (South West Inner City or Terenure area) from Dublin South Central or to Dublin South Central (as noted above), which would either leave two 4-seaters, or a 3-seater and a 5-seater, in the Dublin 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
Dublin West -with a population per TD ratio that is just 2.3% above the state average, this can stay as a 4-seater with its current boundaries unless changes to neighbouring constituencies have a bearing here or unless Commission decides to take account of the 268 submissions call for the political reunification of Swords. The most feasible option here, given that the return of the Swords-Forrest electoral division would leave Dublin West with much too small a population to remain a four-seater, could well be to move the rest of Swords into Dublin West to make it a 5-seater (with the loss of population to Dublin North potentially balanced by moving Howth, Portmarnock and Baldoyle into this constituency from Dublin North-East).
Dun Laoghaire – too small to stay as 4-seater with its current boundaries, but this disparity could be solved by small territory transfer equivalent to a population of c.4,000 from Dublin South East or 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: with the population per TDs at just 3.9% above the state average in Galway East and 1.9% above the state average in Galway West, these can stay as 4 and 5 seaters respectively with no need to change their boundaries.
Both Kerry North-West Limerick and Kerry South are too small to remain as 3-seaters under their current boundary configurations with the population per TD ratio 6.1% below the state average in Kerry North-West Limerick and 9.5% below the state average in Kerry South. Moving the West Limerick area back with the other Limerick constituencies would leave the Kerry county area with a population level sufficient for this to become a standalone 5-seat constituency with a population per TD ratio just 1.3% above the state average.
The population of Kildare county is sufficient to retain a 4-seat Kildare North and a 3-seat Kildare South constituency and the boundaries of both constituencies can stay as they are (unless the Commission decides to reunite Naas with its rural hinterland). Has the decision not been made to reduce the number of Dail seats, Kildare would have been likely to have received an added Dail seat in this revision.
Laois-Offaly – with the population per TD ratio somewhat above (6.7%) the 5% variance limit (and this constituency would have been likely to have been divided into two three-seat constituencies had the Commission been working on the basis of 166 seats again), a further territory transfer out of this constituency (involving areas in south Offaly and Tipperary North) may be required though the Commission would have the option to leave the boundaries as they are at present. The return of the south Offaly area to the Laois-Offaly constituency is not possible with a 160-seat configuration.
The population of the Limerick City constituency too small to remain as a 4-seater (with a population per TD ratio 10.8% below the state average), while the population per TD ratio in Limerick just slightly lower than the 5% variance limit (-5.1%). Moving the western part of the county that is currently in the Kerry North-West Limerick constituency would ensure the two Limerick constituencies have a sufficient combined population to prevent the loss of a seat (though it may make sense to make Limerick City the 3-seater and have an enlarged 4-seater Limerick County constituency, especially if the Ballyglass ED was to be returned to Clare.)
Longford-Westmeath – the current population levels are fine for this to stay as a 4-seater (with a population per TD ratio 1.8% higher than the state average), but the return of the Castlepollard area to join with the rest of Westmeath county in this constituency would not be feasible as this would leave the constituency with a population per TD ratio that would be 9.1% higher than the state average.
Louth – it would be OK to remain as 5-seater with present boundaries as its population per TD ratio would be almost exactly the same as the state average – without the east Meath area it could return to being a 4-seater Louth County constituency (if the Commission accepted a +7.2% variance level for this).
Mayo – the population is too small for this to remain a 5-seater (with a population per TD ratio 8.8% lower than the state average) but too large for it to be a 4-seat constituency with its present boundaries (with a population per TD ratio 14.0% higher than the state average). A small territory transfer equivalent to a population of 6,000 people from a neighbouring constituency (from Roscommon or Sligo) could help maintain this as a 5-seater – alternately a territory transfer equivalent to a population of 10,000 people (in eastern Mayo) into a neighbouring constituency could see Mayo become a four-seat constituency.
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
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
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 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 would appear this area needed to bolster Tipperary South population
Wicklow and Wexford – populations are all sufficient for both these to remain as 5-seaters, Wicklow would not need Hacketstown area to remain as a 5-seater