I move amendment No. 1:—
In Part I, to delete all references to the constituency of "Cork" and substitute therefor the following:—
The County Borough of Cork and the County Electoral area of Ballincollig.
The population of Cork, for the borough constituency, in 1911, was 116,622. Under the census of 1926 there was an increase in the population of about 2,000. The proposal in the Bill is to take away some 17 electoral divisions from that constituency to add to one of the other constituencies in the rural areas of the county, but reducing the representation in the city from five to four. It is one of those cases where there was no necessity for any alteration. I do not know whether the Minister had any particular reason for making this alteration. The county borough and the three other rural districts comprised have in all some 18 representatives under the Electoral Act as it stands. The change now proposed makes alterations in every one of these constituencies. It would have been possible—and I think the Minister had the opportunity—to have an alternative, and to have brought before the Dáil a proposal for altering the figures in the case of two of these constituencies, and leaving the other two as they stood.
There is one constituency, West Cork, which is the same as it is at present. That is only one out of four, whereas under this scheme which is in the Minister's office there was an opportunity of making the proposals here which would change only two of them. What is the reason for this alteration I do not know. There is a general consensus of opinion in favour of leaving the Cork Borough constituency stand as it is. This is portion of the hinterland. It seems to be that hinterland in respect of which there are several important industries, and there is no good case made for making the alteration. This particular alteration that I am now recommending need not interfere very materially with the scheme which the Minister has in mind.
But if the alternative proposal which I think is in the Minister's possession were adopted, it would, I think, make fewer changes, and leave the constituencies with the boundaries as they were, making it more convenient not alone for the residents but for the interests which have had representation here and more convenient for the representatives, as they know the constituencies. All round, I should say that in a constituency such as this the less changes the better. Alterations should not be made unless there are strong reasons for them. Without such strong reasons the alterations should not be recommended to the House. I have no complaint from the members of the constituencies in Cork regarding the present distribution of the various electoral areas, and consequently I am moving this amendment to change the number from four to five and to include in the Cork Borough constituency those areas which have been taken away and handed over, I think, to East Cork.