*Counting during the 2020 General Election. Photograph: John Mangan

CLARE’S DÁIL constituency will remain unchanged for the next General Election.

Four TDs will once again be elected in Co Clare with the constituency continuing to encompass the entire county with no breaches to its boundaries.

The Electoral Commission’s constituency review has recommended that Clare be one of seven constituencies across the country where no changes are implemented. Cork South-West, Donegal, Dublin Central, Kerry, Limerick County and Waterford will also see no alterations.

Presently, Clare is a four-seat constituency represented by Michael McNamara (IND), Violet Anne Wynne (IND), Cathal Crowe (FF) and Joe Carey (FG). The constituency has a population of 127,938, an increase of 9,121 (7.7%) from the 2016 Census.

This increase in population was considered by the Commission regarding the current make-up of the constituency. The Commission acknowledged that Clare has been left with a high variance of 8.08%.

Submissions for the Clare constituency saw a significant number focus on the placement of the Ballyglass ED. A large number of submissions referred directly to the position of this electoral division.

Although a small number of these were in favour of the Ballyglass ED returning to the Limerick City constituency, the vast majority were in favour of the Ballyglass ED remaining in the Clare constituency, it returned to Clare in advance of the 2020 General Election and proved very beneficial for first-time candidate Crowe, this part of the county had not been in the constituency from 2011.

There were also submissions that advocated for Clare to become a 5 seat constituency with transfers from Galway East. However, this would have created a new county boundary breach. Parts of the North-East Clare had previously been in the Galway West constituency from 1977 to 1981 while the former Clare-South Galway constituency which existed from 1969 to 1977 elected Bill Loughnane (FF), Brigid Hogan O’Higgins (FG), Michael Carty (FF) (1969) and Johnny Callanan (FF) (1973).

Nationally, the amount of TDs in Dáil Éireann will increase from 160 to 174 while the number of Dáil constituencies will rise from 39 to 43.

Under the Constitution Ireland should have one TD per 20,000-30,000 people. These changes mean each TD will represent an average of 29,593 people. Based on the current Dáil of 160 TDs, Ireland is already operating well beyond that with a national average of one TD per 32,182.

Across the country, the number of three seat constituencies will increase to thirteen from nine. The number of four seat constituencies will now be fifteen instead of seventeen while the amount of five seat constituencies goes from thirteen to fifteen.

A new inter county constituency of Wicklow-Wexford is recommended with three seats. The constituency of Laois-Offaly is divided into two constituencies, the new Laois constituency and the new Offaly constituency, both with three seats each.

Other new constituencies include Dublin Fingal East (three seats), Dublin Fingal West (three seats), Tipperary North (three seats) which has additions from the Limerick City constituency and the Carlow Kilkenny constituency and Tipperary South (three seats).

Chair of An Coimisiún Toghcháin, the Electoral Commission, Supreme Court Judge, Ms. Justice Marie Baker stated, “The EU institutions have been deliberating for several months about the overall European Parliament composition, but no final decision on an additional seat has yet been confirmed. In this situation we have had to recommend the status quo while we await confirmation on a likely additional MEP seat for Ireland”.

She added, “Ireland’s historic county boundaries have a particular resonance in the electoral process. The preservation, insofar as is practicable, of the integrity of the county boundaries is an express statutory requirement. It is noteworthy that the preservation of county boundary integrity also stood head and shoulders above any other issue in the 541 public submissions received for the Dáil Review”.

Founded on 9th February 2023, the Electoral Commission “spent the short timeline available since publication of the census on 30 May 2023 in detailed and demanding analysis of the options available to meet the revised population figures and our constitutional and statutory mandates”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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