Updated: 06/12/17 : 06:18:41
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Two committees to assess local electoral boundaries

The Cabinet has agreed to set up two committees to look at local electoral boundaries and report back as soon as possible.

The committees will be tasked at ensuring that five to seven-seaters become the normal size of a local electoral ward.

In exceptional or particular circumstances three to four-seaters may be examined.

According to RTÉ Fine Gael had been in talks with the Independent Alliance over the large size of some electoral areas that are represented by up to ten councillors.

However, smaller parties and independents fear any changes could damage their prospects in the next local elections in 2019.

As part of the review, one committee is being established to look at the division of each county council area and how they are divided into local electoral areas.

It will also review the number of representatives in each area.

The second committee will look at the four existing local authority areas in Dublin and examine the electoral wards in each area. A similar approach may be adopted for Cork.

The committees will be made up of public and civil servants and academics.

The Cabinet has also agreed that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should be ratified by Ireland as soon as possible.

The Minister of State with responsibility for disabilities, Finian McGrath, had asked the Cabinet to intensify its efforts to ratify the Convention at its meeting this morning.

Ireland signed the convention more than ten years ago but it remains the only EU country not to ratify it.

Once ratified it requires countries to bring forward laws and measures to improve disability rights.

The matter will be discussed at another Cabinet meeting after Christmas.

Meanwhile, a Government spokesperson has confirmed that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, is due to announce that the compulsory retirement age in the public service will rise from 65 to 70 years of age over a period.

A spokesperson said that workers will still have the option of retiring once they receive their pension.

The spokesperson said there were no further details and the timeline for the move is unclear.

The issue was raised by Independent Alliance Minister of State Kevin Boxer Moran with Minister Donohoe during the budget negotiations.