THERE has been a mixed reaction to the proposed break up of Laois/Offaly into two three seater constituencies.
While Offaly Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has welcomed the move, Laois Deputy Brian Stanley said he is not in favour.
The former Borrisokane Rural District and parts of the former Nenagh Rural District will return to County Offaly and Deputy Corcoran Kennedy has welcomed this development saying that many of these areas have always formed “a natural hinterland” to Birr.
“I am delighted with the outcome of the Boundary Review, and I look forward to working closely with all my constituents in the new 3-seater Offaly constituency,” said Deputy Corcoran-Kenendy.
Meanwhile Deputy Stanley said the changes will see Laois taking in part of Kildare. “I do not agree with the proposal to adjoin parts of other counties as I believe the constituency line should be within Local Authority/county boundaries. For example Kildangan in Kildare would not form part of the natural hinterland for Laois nor would Terryglass for Offaly.”
He expressed the view that small three seat constituencies favour larger parties and would not provide better representation as diverse views would not be well represented and we need more diversity of views.
“If the Constitution demands a change because of the massive increase in population in Laois (20%) and Offaly (14%) over recent years, and one extra seat must be created, then a large 6-seater in Laois/Offaly would be a better solution than the break up proposed. Either way Sinn Féin will rise to the challenge.”
The Boundary Review recommendations mean the county of Offaly combined with twenty-four electoral divisions from the north west of Tipperary should form a new three seat constituency.
Also the county of Laois combined with six electoral divisions from the Kildare South constituency should form a new three-seat constituency.
Neither of the counties of Laois and Offaly can form a single constituency and the combined population results in an unacceptable variance in a five seat constituency. The population of the county of Tipperary exceeds that of a five seat constituency and is insufficient to form two three seat constituencies.
According to the 2011 Census the population of Offaly stands at 87,640, with the population per TD, 29,213.