DCSIMG

Redrawing the political map

Fine Gael's Marcella Corcoran Kennedy celebrates with supporters after she won her seat on the thirteenth count at the count centre in Tullamore for the Laois/Offaly constituency. Picture: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo

Fine Gael's Marcella Corcoran Kennedy celebrates with supporters after she won her seat on the thirteenth count at the count centre in Tullamore for the Laois/Offaly constituency. Picture: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo

Mixed feelings have greeted the proposed constituency redrawing which would see Laois and Offaly split up into separate entities.

in its recommendations last week, the Constituency Commission report foresees Laois and Offaly becoming two three seater constituencies for the first time in the history of the State.

Arising largely because of the massive population increase in Laois and, to a lesser extent in Offaly in latter years, the proposed split directly affects the political dynamic, and indeed culture, of both counties.

The inclusion of an area of south Kildare and North Tipperary into Laois and Offaly respectively will also have potential repercussions.

Most immediately, Oireachtas members will have to readust their sights and priorities in what is a new political landscape.

It will suit some, and not others.

Already there has been a spectrum of reaction, ranging from reserved welcome, to outright objection to the proposals.

Many public representatives had invaluable pockets of support cross border, which they have now been stripped of.

Similarly, voters in both counties had affinties with their own TDs, irrespective of whether they were based in Laois or Offaly.

For everyone the redrawing of the constituency boundaries represents a significant change, but it is to be welcomed.

The only qualifying comment that can be made is that this is perhaps too small a measure of Dail reform.

Reducing the Dail by eight TDs hardly amounts to bold reform, though those affected would obviously disagree.

Real and fundamental reform and change seems as elusive as ever.

The political system is still awash with practices, quangos and bodies it can ill afford and does not really need.

Real reform is still required to make this a system that reflects the time it operates in.

 

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