Return of south Offaly voters demanded

A REQUEST for the return of thousands of voters in south Offaly to the constituency has been made to the Constituency Commission Review.

A REQUEST for the return of thousands of voters in south Offaly to the constituency has been made to the Constituency Commission Review.

Offaly County Council has written to the Constituency Commission Review of the Dail and European constituencies requesting that the Laois/Offaly constituency for elections to Dail Eireann be reunited as a single until and that the 2007 assignment of the portion of South Offaly to the North Tipperary constituency be reversed.

The members state that the realignment of the constituency would for a more effective and efficient political system for both Laois/Offaly and North Tipperary contending that the move of 3,499 electors from South Offaly to North Tipperary has resulted in people fragmentation and has broken the citizens democratic expectation of representation.

In the letter, the councillors contend citizens in the south Offaly are assigned to north Tipperary are represented by TDs from a different county to their local representatives and, even more significantly, are represented by European Members from a different province.

The councillors advised the commission they have compelling anecdotal and empirical evidence that the 3,449 citizens of Offaly, as an insignificant minority in a greater Tipperary constituency, feel ‘utterly disenfranchised’.

And, this brings “significant confusion” for citizens, who are unfamiliar with the views and backgrounds of many of those seeking election, in arriving at a decision on who is likely to best represent them in their national parliament. The letter to the commission claims, it is distressing for individuals and indeed their communities, to be voting in constituencies. which hold no historic or emotional links for them and for which they no affinity.

The County Councillors have requested that their considerations be taken into account in the review of the constituencies.

Fianna Fail councillor, Peter Ormond, said the letter was a “good days’ work” and his sentiments were endorsed by Independent councillor, John Carroll.