Adrian Kavanagh, 6th April 2017
The final/definitive population by area Census 2016 figures were published earlier today (at 11 am), showing a population level within the state of 4,761,865, marking a notable increase (of 173,613 – 3.8%) on the 4,588,252 population level recorded for the 2011 Census. (The provisional figures published back in July 2016 only under-estimated this national population figure by 3,889 people – these estimates were only out by 0.08%.) This now leaves an average population of 30,138.4 per Dail Deputy across the State (for the current 158-Dail seat context).
Given that the Constitution explicitly states that the population per TD ratio nationally (this does not apply to individual constituencies) must not exceed 30,000 (or indeed fall below 20,000), this means that the smallest number of Dail deputies, which can be envisaged in the upcoming Constituency Commission review of/report on Dail constituency boundaries, is 159, which is a higher number that the current membership (158 TDs) of Dail Eireann. As a result, the extent of the boundary changes that will be required is probably more extensive than would have been envisaged prior to the publication of the preliminary Census 2016 population figures back in July 2016. Continue reading