Updated: 28/06/17 : 05:36:05
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MacSharry slates counties, communities carve-up

MARC MacSHARRY has called for the abolition of the body which decides on the make-up of Dáil constituencies.

A new formula needs to be found and put to voters in a referendum, MacSharry said: ''Preserving the status quo is not an option.''

Divide Counties

The Sligo TD was speaking shortly after publication late last night of the Constituency Commission Report 2017. See link below.

''It is inconceivable,'' said MacSharry, ''that consecutive Governments have continued to preside over a Constituency Commission which continues to divide counties and disenfranchise local communities."

"In the North West we have had a multitude  of unecessary division of counties with Leitrim, Cavan, Donegal and now Roscommon recklessly carved up.''

This, he said, showed ''total contempt for the integrity and contiguous nature of county boundaries and local communities.

''The proposal to re-unite Co Cavan is something (we) all sought and is welcome.

But consecutive Governments and their appointed Constituencies Commission is not fit for purpose and requires urgent reform,'' MacSharry urged.

 His view was underpinned by the Commission decision to continue with the division of Donegal ''and to needlessly slice up County Roscommon.''

Never Breached

Said MacSharry last night: " In my submission to the Constituencies Commission, while proposing the reunification of both Donegal and Cavan and keeping Sligo Leitrim together, was within the current constitutional criteria The Commission chose to ignore this and add insult to injury by dividing County Roscommon.''  

He now wants the Government ''to immediately appoint an expert group to work out and suggest a formula which ensures county boundaries are never breached.

Each county, he felt, would be assured of at least one representative in Dáil Éireann.   

Such a formula will be difficult to design but it is now essential in the interests of protecting our traditions as a nation in providing that all people have local representative voices in our national parliament"

Migration Patterns

"In drawing up the current criteria in Bunreacht Na hEireann in 1937 De Valera and his colleagues could not have foreseen the migration patterns and eastern conurbation,'' he said.

MacSharry observed these patterns now extend from Dundalk to Dublin to Waterford and on to Cork, Limerick and Galway.  

''If we stand still and ignore this,'' said MacSharry: ''Within a couple of generations we will see a proliferation of Dail representation with up to 80% of TDs  in the greater Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway City catchments .

He warned the remaining 20% would be made up of ''multiple county constituencies and become the the norm for those TDs (serving) that 20%.   

Said MacSharry: ''Yes, it will be a challenge to strike a formula that ensures county boundaries are respected and to ensure at least one deputy in each County but the situation is critical and must be addressed.  

''Preserving the status quo is not an option.  The appropriate formula  must be found and put to the people in a referendum for ratification. "

"Any member of Dáil Éireann will work for the people of any county or any community and all of us who have had the pleasure to serve on behalf of multiple counties are proud to do so and will continue to do so.

''But a stop must be put to this outdated policy which once again has shredded communities in Counties Donegal and Roscommon. Our people deserve no less,'' said MacSharry.

Link: Sligo Today 28/6/2017