Fine Gael Kildare South TD Martin Heydon has made a submission to the Commission reviewing Constituency Boundaries for the purposes of Dail elections seeking a return of the 6 electoral divisions of Kildare South which were moved to the Laois Constituency.
“Following the last Dail Boundary review in 2012 the voting districts of Monasterevin, Churchtown, Kildangan, Kilberry, Harristown and Ballybracken were moved to the Laois constituency for Dail voting purposes. This meant that 7,186 voters from these areas voted for Laois candidates in the last General Election.
“I know from my interaction with many of these voters the huge sense of anger and frustration at being moved to Laois to vote for candidates that may not be known to them. Many now outside of the constituency still engage with me and my Kildare South colleagues on issues that affect them.
“Following each census there is a review of Dail constituencies to ensure that each constituency is not over or under represented based on the requirements of the constitution to have 1 TD per 30,000 population. This was a good opportunity to highlight the views of voters in these areas at the move and fight for their return as part of this review.
“Due to the national population increase in the preliminary census results the constituency commission has the potential to increase the number of Dail seats by 1 or 2 to 159 or 160. If they chose to increase by 2 to 160, there is a possibility of an increased seat in Kildare due to our growing population.
“The breaching of County Boundaries is one of the biggest issues facing the Constituency Commission with many Counties seeking returns of area including Carlow. Under their terms of reference the Commission are advised to avoid the breaching of County boundaries as far as practicable. I continue to fight for a reunited Kildare South for future elections.
Contact: Martin Heydon
The text of Deputy Heydon’s submission is attached below and all submissions can be seen at http://www.constituency-commission.ie/cc-submissions.html
10th January 2017.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my views on the review of constituency boundaries for the election of members of the Dail, with specific reference to the Dail constituency of Kildare South.
The 2012 Dail Boundary review moved a population of 7,186 voters from 6 Kildare South Electoral Divisions to the newly formed constituency of Laois. As a TD elected at the time for Kildare South, I received many calls from residents in these areas expressing their anger and confusion at being moved to Laois.
Residents found it difficult to understand the rationale for the move, which appeared arbitrary from a geographical point of view. They wanted to continue to deal with the public representatives in Kildare that they knew. This remains the case to the current day, despite the years since the change and a subsequent general election where they voted in Laois.
On a local authority level their issues are still dealt with by Kildare County Council which further adds to the confusion. This has also required Laois TDs to now liaise with Kildare County Council and Councillors as well as Laois County Council creating duplication.
Irish people have a natural and cultural affinity to their home County, a link which is often reinforced by GAA. This is very much the case in South Co. Kildare and I am aware of many proud Kildare residents who did not vote in 2016 as a result of this move.
I understand that under law and as part of your terms of reference, the breaching of county boundaries should be avoided as far as practicable. I would ask you as part of this review to reinstate the County Boundary of Kildare and return the areas of Monasterevin, Churchtown, Kildangan, Kilberry, Harristown and Ballybracken to their home County of Kildare for voting purposes.
With one of the highest population growths in the Country in 2016 expected to continue, a case could be made to expand Kildare South to a four seat constituency in conjunction with the re-instatement of the 6 Electoral Divisions back from Laois. This would allow for future population growth in the County while also retaining the County boundary.
Martin Heydon, T.D.