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Six-seat constituencies? June 27, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Can this be right? A report in the Examiner that, in view of the increase in population, some constituencies might increase to six seats.

The preliminary Census 2022 shows that the constituency with the highest number of people for each TD is Dublin Fingal, a five-seater constituency, with 34,138 people per representative in the Dáil, which will likely have to become a six-seater in order to fulfil the constitutional requirement and adequately serve constituents.

But in other instances, constituencies have been cut in half, as it were, with three seats in each constituency. 

There are likely to be changes to larger but more rural constituencies such as Donegal, which increased to 166,321 and now might see the county split in two again, north and south with three seats each, rather than becoming a six-seater.

And according to this from Adrian Kavanagh at Maynooth University it is not possible under the terms of the current electoral acts… 

Unless a new Electoral Act allows for a change in the terms of reference for the Commission, the number of seats that can be in any Dáil constituency will range from three to five. As it stands, this may result in an enforced number of county boundary breaches, with, for instance, the territory being moved from Laois to Offaly and from Kilkenny to Carlow to allow for sufficient population to sustain three-seat constituencies in Carlow and Offaly.

And continues:

Some larger counties, such as Wexford, Donegal, and Tipperary, would need to be split into two three-seat constituencies to account for population growth and the overall increase in Dáil seat numbers. Such moves would also lead to an overall increase in the number of three-seat constituencies and notably reduce district magnitude levels within the State, thus effectively reducing the overall level of proportionality.

The potential to have six-seat constituencies, however, would mean that a number of county boundary breaches would be avoided, as well as a mushrooming in the number of smaller, and hence less proportional, three-seat constituencies. If a new Electoral Act was brought in to change the terms of reference for the Constituency Commission to allow them to use six-seat constituencies, even if in a limited number of cases, this would by no means be a bad thing!  

There have been six-seaters as this demonstrates, but not for many many years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_Dáil_constituencies

So here’s a question: how likely is it that any such Electoral Act would be brought forward?


1. rockroots - June 27, 2022

Well surely the whole system needs an overhaul?

IIRC the reason why the number of TDs dropped from the historically consistent 166 was because of general discontent at the political class after the crash. It was FG tinkering with the optics of political reform (like the Seanad referendum) without actually doing anything.

I’m led to believe we’re over-represented in comparison to other state legislatures, so there’s a case to be made for redefining that constitutional proportional requirement, or even dropping it altogether. Might as well reform the Seanad while they’re at it, as was promised a decade ago.

Liked by 1 person

2. NFB - June 27, 2022

I’d presume a few Dublin constituencies might be in danger of needing a split?

Liked by 1 person

3. irishelectionliterature - June 27, 2022

Splitting, for example, Dublin Fingal into two three-seaters rather than a six-seater. It’s quite possible that, were a party to be on 36% in the polls, with good vote management they could take two seats in each of the three-seaters, where winning four out of six seats in a six-seater on the same vote is a much harder prospect.


jc - June 27, 2022

Fascinating how the emergence of SF changes calculations. FF tried a couple of times in the past to move to first past the post, That would be a nightmare for them now.

Liked by 2 people

WorldbyStorm - June 27, 2022

That’s a great point. They’d be stuffed now. Absolutely. And I guess when one sees the shifts in the UK with FPTP it does prove that sooner or later there is a change in power.


banjoagbeanjoe - June 27, 2022

Splitting, for example, Dublin Fingal…

I was out in Ardgillen Castle with the hounds and some family this afternoon. Beautiful place, clear view to the Mournes today. On the way back we stopped in Skerries and I noticed a plaque on an office wall – “Regina Doherty constituency office”. Has she switched from Meath to Fingal? FG candidate in Fingal next time out?

Liked by 1 person

irishelectionliterature - June 27, 2022

She has, she is originally from Malahide I think (her mother stood there in 1979)

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