Updated: 01/07/17 : 07:57:05
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Sligo voters change 'breaks all the rules,' Senator

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

PROFOUND SHOCK is the reaction of Roscommon voters shunted into Sligo.

There is little likelihood of that being changed either, a former TD and current Senator has predicted.

Terry Leyden, who has several links with Sligo, said the change announced this week ''breaks all the rules.''

He told Seanad colleagues that 7,800 voters in north Roscommon would now be moved into Sligo, Leitrim and south Donegal.

''The area,'' said Leyden, ''has 18 electoral divisions -- including urban and rural Boyle, Ballyfarnan, Keadue, Cootehall, Crossna, Rushfield and Rockingham.

Divide County

''This will break up and divide our county. It is against the principle of the Commission. It breaks all the rules.

''The Commission has brought the constituency of Mayo back to one county. It states it received submissions. There will not be another review until 2021.''

Added Leyden: ''From my experience here there will be no changes. That is what I have seen over the years.

''There is profound shock in north Roscommon and the Boyle area.

''I represented Roscommon in 1981, which is 36 years ago, when County Roscommon was brought back into one constituency, along with an area of east Galway.

People Thwarted

''Efforts have been made in the past by governments to divide the county with regard to transferring Monksland to Westmeath. This was thwarted by the will of the people of Roscommon.

I do not think we can change these recommendations, quite frankly. They have all been accepted.

''On behalf of the people of north Roscommon I am gravely disappointed.

''It is an area that will be disenfranchised from the rest of the county with regard to developments, progress and representation in Dáil Éireann.

Let Down

It is a blow, let us be quite frank about it. It is the area of County Roscommon that elected Count Plunkett in 1917.

''It has a proud tradition of electoral support and it created the first Sinn Féin independent Member of Parliament.

''The people feel very let down, aggrieved and disappointed at what has happened.

''One Member of the House (Seanad) has already stated he will run in another area, but that is another day's work.

Postscript: Crossna is one of the new areas which will vote with Sligo for the first time ever, a village which was in the news exactly 100 years ago

Then, Sligo priest and political activist Fr Michael O'Flanagan was transferred against his will to Crossna from his north Sligo base at Cliffoney.

A booklet of his memoirs and recollection of the period was published earlier this year. See link below.

Links: Sligo Today 28/6/2017 and Sligo Today 29/1/2017.