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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Vol. 188 No. 11

Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1961— Committee Stage (Resumed).

South Tipperary
Debate resumed on amendment No. 8:—
In page 11, in the second column of the entry relating to South Tipperary after "except" to insert "the parts thereof which are comprised in the county constituencies of North Tipperary and Waterford" and to delete "the part thereof which is comprised in the county constituency of North Tipperary;
and, in the administrative county of Waterford, the district electoral divisions of:
Ballymacarbry, Graignagower, Gurteen, Kilmacomma, Kilronan, St. Mary's, in the former Rural District of Clonmel No. 2:
Dromana, Dromore, in the former Rural District of Dungarvan:
Ballyduff, Ballyhane, Ballyin, Ballynamult, Ballysaggartmore, Cappoquin, Castlerichard, Drumroe, Gortnapeaky, Kilcockan, Kilwatermoy East, Kilwatermoy West, Lismore Rural, Lismore Urban, Mocollop, Modelligo, Tallow, in the former Rural District of Lismore:
Templemichael, in the former Rural District of Youghal No. 2."
and in the third column to delete "Four" and substitute "Three".

When the debate on amendment No. 8 and amendment No. 9 was adjourned last Thursday, I had pointed out that I assumed the Minister for Local Government was motivated by some particular reasons when he decided to reduce the constituency of Waterford from four to three seats and permit the constituency of South Tipperary to retain its four seats. I also said that I could visualise him adopting certain principles when endeavouring to come to his decision. I suggested to the House that one of the considerations he would think about when endeavouring to come to his decision was which of the two constituencies had the greater population; which place was nearer to the High Court ruling of 20,000 per Deputy. I pointed out that assuming he had already made up his mind to transfer a certain number to North Tipperary, if he examined the question, he would find the position somewhat like this, that Waterford at the 1956 census had 74,031 people registered as against 73,718 in South Tipperary, a majority of 313 in Waterford's favour.

As pointed out, that was not all of the story. You would have had to add to Waterford approximately 1,000 extra population because of the extension of the borough boundary which took place since the 1956 census. Then you would have had in round figures 75,000 population in Waterford constituency. In reverse, accepting the figures Deputy Mulcahy was kind enough to give to the House in connection with the transfer to North Tipperary from South Tipperary, I find the 73,718 of South Tipperary would have to be reduced by approximately 3,000 people, to drop to some 71,000.

The position existing at the time the Minister was making up his mind to deprive Waterford of one seat and to permit South Tipperary to retain that seat was that Waterford would have had, on a population basis, some 75,000 people, whereas South Tipperary would have had some 71,000, a difference of 4,000. I would assume that that must have weighed in some small way with the Minister in coming to his decision but he decided, in his wisdom, to override that fact.

There is a further fact. Population is the basis mentioned in deciding the ratio of Deputies to constituencies and the High Court decision was that population basis would be a deciding factor. But if you leave that aside and take it on the electorate, we find that the electorate in Waterford was 43,156 and in South Tipperary, it was only 41,196, a difference, in round figures, of approximately 2,000. Without any alteration in South Tipperary or Waterford, there were 2,000 more voters in Waterford than there were in South Tipperary. Then, again, the factor comes in of the transfer to North Tipperary of approximately 1,531, which I presume had already taken place in the Minister's mind. My figures are as quoted by Deputy Mulcahy in the House last Thursday and not contradicted by the Minister and I assume them to be correct. There was a transfer of 1,531 electors from South Tipperary to North Tipperary, leaving the figure for South Tipperary 39,666 electors.

I think the number transferred was what was left of that number. Two years ago, there were 1,500; now there are only 1,400 odd.

The figure is approximately correct.

It is the relevant figure but it is not the whole of the 1,500. It is what is left of that after two years of emigration.

Of course, that is another point. They should be there but they have gone to England.

These are the people who are transferred.

The figure for South Tipperary is 39,665, but, adding the 400 that covers the extension of the city boundary to Rockingham, there are 43,500 voters in Waterford—a difference in round figures of 4,000 electors in favour of Waterford.

Notwithstanding these two important factors, the Minister, in his wisdom, decided that the Waterford representation should be reduced and that South Tipperary should be permitted to continue to elect four Deputies. I have no wish or desire to deprive South Tipperary or any other constituency of representation, but I hold that if, following a High Court decision, the Minister had the unenviable task of deciding between two things, there must have been some facts on which he worked and I should be anxious to hear what those facts were. I have put forward the facts from the Waterford point of view as I and as most Waterford people see them.

There was a third factor the Minister claimed on last Thursday, a very deciding factor in his mind, namely, that he wanted the minimum interference with county bounds or natural boundaries. I could go a long way with the Minister there. That is a very honest and very fair approach but, when we come to Waterford and South Tipperary, does the Minister carry out his avowed desires and intentions as between Waterford and Tipperary? In order to give Waterford the full quota of votes necessary according to the High Court ruling, all it would mean would be the transfer of the Urban area of Carrick-on-Suir and Carrickbeg into Waterford constituency.

There is a natural affinity between Carrickbeg and Waterford for hurling, for parochial purposes. Waterford is the city nearest to Carrickbeg. The harbour authority of Waterford governs the port of Carrick. Carrick has representatives on the harbour authority. In every connection, both Carrick-on-Suir urban area and Carrickbeg have such close affinity with Waterford that they would not even recognise the fact that they had been transferred. In regard to area, it would simply mean moving in a distance of three to six miles.

Instead of doing that and transferring roughly 4,700 people from that area to Waterford, the Minister decided to multilate Waterford constituency to the extent of moving the natural boundary and county bounds from Old Bridge, Clonmel down to within six miles of Dungarvan town where I reside, a distance of 21 to 22 miles and including, in a line from Youghal, right through Ballyhane, Cappoquin, up through Modelligo, right across to Rathgormack, leaving Rathgormack outside—one-third of the whole county. I wonder how the Minister can reconcile that with his statement on Thursday that his aim was to have the minimum of interference with natural boundaries and county bounds. I would be keenly interested in hearing the Minister's explanation.

I suggest that the Minister was not compelled by the court decision to do what he did. There was a reasonable excuse, perhaps, when he was dealing with other areas and for saying that, had it not been for a certain law action. Waterford would have had four, South Tipperary would have had four and everything would have been happy. The Minister's hands may have been forced in other constituencies but I suggest that there is a question to be answered by the Minister if he is to assure the House that everything is fair and above-board in this case. The Minister must be like Caesar's wife in this matter, above suspicion. He must clear the air of the charge that is prevalent in my constituency of political gerrymandering. It is believed, not by me alone but by leading members of the Minister's own Party and I will quote their words later.

I should like to refer to a speech made in this House by Deputy Loughman of Clonmel on the Second Reading. He said: "We were consulted and we gave——"

I said no such thing.

I will quote the records, if not on this stage on the next.

The Deputy should quote what I said.

I shall quote the Deputy verbatim, but if the Minister went to the bother of seeking Deputy Loughman's advice——

He did not.

——why did he not consult Deputy Kyne, Deputy Lynch, Deputy Ormonde and Deputy Kenneally. Perhaps Deputy Ormonde and Deputy Kenneally were asked, but certainly Deputy Lynch and myself were not asked for our views as to what was fair or proper. Was it just a question, as I am inclined to suspect, of what was fair and proper for Fianna Fáil? I would hate to think the Minister was a party to that kind of wangle. I am tired listening to the Minister and his Party condemning the people in the North for gerrymandering. If he is going to do likewise what can we say in future? If this happened to a Catholic in the North we would have national protests. Deputy Loughman and his Party would almost seek an invasion of the North to prevent this injustice being done by Unionists against Nationalists.

In speaking about my county I am not doing so because I am in danger there. It could be that Fianna Fáil would lose the seat notwithstanding the position arrived at by the Minister. If the Minister were as honest as he wishes us to think, why did he not set up a Select Committee to examine the whole problem as we did on other controversial matters that should be above politics? This would have enabled representatives of all Parties to discuss the matter and then come before the House to seek unanimous approval.

I should like to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that a meeting of the Waterford Trades Council, not engineered by Deputy Kyne or sponsored by Deputy Kyne in any way, but representing 10,000 workers in Waterford city, unanimously condemned the action of the Minister. To come closer home, the Waterford County Council representing the whole County of Waterford, on the motion of the chairman, Councillor Charles Curran, a Fianna Fáil member of the Council, unanimously condemned the decision of the Minister and called upon him to amend it. I should like to quote Councillor Curran's words: "It was an act of vandalism against the Waterford constituency." He was supported in that motion, which as I say was passed unanimously, by a non-contestant in the last election, Councillor Quirke, on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party, who called upon the people of Waterford, who are now seconded to South Tipperary, to show their disapproval of this action by refusing to vote in the coming election. Then another Independent Councillor having no connection with the Labour Party, the Fine Gael Party or Fianna Fáil, advocated that all Parties should combine in Waterford in the coming election and refuse to put forward any candidates and place the Minister in the embarrassing position of having no Waterford representatives in the next Government or of having three Government - nominated representatives.

That would be drastic but perhaps the situation needs something drastic. The Minister's action is resented in Waterford. Waterford people, irrespective of Party, must ensure that their interests, social, cultural and political will not be sacrificed to the needs of another constituency or any Party in this House. The people of Waterford are with me in this protest. Unless the Minister gives us an answer that will clear both his good name and the good name of his Party his action will draw nothing but discredit on Fianna Fáil, not only throughout Waterford but throughout the length and breadth of this country.

My only reason for speaking now is to refute the statement by Deputy Kyne that I was a party to gerrymandering in Waterford County. I deny that absolutely. On the Second Reading I did say that if it were left to me I could certainly make a division of the county which would benefit my candidature, if I am a candidate at the next election. Far from being a benefit to me, the constituency is so divided that I can safely say that in the whole area outside Ballymacarbry I do not know half a dozen people, and that is the biggest part of the constituency, including Lismore, Cappoquin and Tallow.

I do not know about these rambling figures the Deputy gave us. He referred to county boundaries, but the argument he made was not a very sound one. Take the town of Carrick-on-Suir which has close affinity to Waterford. I was born there and I can assure Deputy Kyne that there is not a town in Tipperary with a more Tipperary outlook than Carrick-on-Suir. If Carrick-on-Suir were to be included in Waterford there would be a far greater rumpus than there will be because of the transfer of the portion of Waterford which is being added to Tipperary.

We did not wish early on that Waterford should be divided and it is not our fault if it is divided. We introduced and passed a Bill in 1959, a Bill which gave to Waterford four Deputies as it gave to Tipperary, based on procedure over the past 40 years. The courts found against it and we were then faced with a different division. If the figures Deputy Kyne gave us here to-day were accepted, the ratio would have to be stepped up to 22,000 per Deputy.

Using Deputy Kyne's figures—take 3,000 from the South Tipperary population of 73,000 and we are left with 70,800. From this figure, deduct the population of Carrick-on-Suir, 4,800, which the Deputy suggests should be added to Waterford and we are left with 66,000. This will give a ratio of 22,000 per Deputy, South Tipperary being a three member constituency. Because the Bill is based on 20,000 per Deputy and as the court decided that there should not be a greater differential than 1,000 per Deputy, the whole Bill would have to be changed.

My reasoning is: why should Tipperary not have equal rights with Waterford when the matter came to be decided? If the Minister or the Government decided that Waterford was to be the county which would get four seats, I do not think we would have made the same fuss about it. We would have accepted it, just as we accepted portion of the southern end of South Tipperary being tacked on to North Tipperary. We realised it was necessary that that should be done.

As I said on Second Reading, I am quite happy that South Tipperary is to be a four-member constituency. I think South Tipperary is entitled ordinarily to that recognition. I cannot see that Waterford has any greater claim to it than South Tipperary.

Only on the figures

The Deputy's figures are completely wrong.

Are they? The Minister published them and I am not responsible for them.

Does the Deputy say that it should be 22,000 per Deputy?

No, 20,000.

It would be 22,000 according to your figures. I am giving the facts. On Second Reading, the Deputy knew so little that he told us it was necessary to get a small bit of Carrick-on-Suir——

I said the urban area.

Deputy Kyne can make all the allegations he likes.

That is the best bit of Fianna Fáil claptrap I have heard for a long time. The Deputy had the "crust" to say that he never said what Deputy Kyne accused him of saying on this Bill.

Repeat what I said.

I will repeat it for the Deputy.

I want to know what I said.

I will tell the Deputy what he said because evidently he has forgotten it, and evidently he had no idea what he was talking about. We had an idea, and I will read it for the Deputy.

The Deputy can take his time and he will get more than that. At column 219, Volume 188, of the Official Report on 12th April, 1961, Deputy Loughman said:

For the information of Deputy Lindsay, I should say that there is no better Fianna Fáil area than the area we are losing in the northern end of South Tipperary. Very reluctantly we agreed that that portion should be taken from South Tipperary and tacked on to North Tipperary.

Agreed with whom? The Minister?

Deputy Lindsay asked: "Who are the people who agreed?" and Deputy Loughman replied: "Our arguing on the Bill. What do you think people are?". Deputy Loughman went on to say that Fine Gael had eight Ministers in the previous Government, all of whom were lawyers. He had already said: "Very reluctantly we agreed that that portion should be taken from South Tipperary..."

Quite true.

Agreed with whom? With the Minister? Deputy Loughman must have been consulted.

Not 20 minutes ago, to my amazement, Deputy Loughman said that he had said no such thing. I heard him say it, and Deputy Kyne had heard him say it. My colleagues knew he had said it. I knew it was on the record, and there it is.

The Deputy should mind his knuckles.

We always have that claptrap from Fianna Fáil. It is all they are able to do.

Deputies on the opposite side of the House would want to mind their knuckles.

There were three Deputies in North Tipperary, four Deputies in South Tipperary and four Deputies in Waterford. The Minister told us that when he was deciding on this matter, he would take the natural boundaries into consideration. Deputy Kyne has given the figures: 43,156 for Waterford and 41,000 for South Tipperary. The obvious thing to do was to make South Tipperary a three-seat constituency and to add a little to Waterford, but no—the whole of the west of Waterford was taken holusbolus and pushed into South Tipperary because: "very reluctantly we agreed that that portion should be taken from South Tipperary and tacked on to North Tipperary."

Further on, in column 220 of the same Volume, Deputy Loughman said:

It was essential that some votes from somewhere should be added to North Tipperary so that they would have three seats. The decision was that that particular number of votes should come from South Tipperary. We were very reluctant to see votes taken from us because of the great support we got there. It is not an easy thing to allow an area to go which we feel is an excellent one from our point of view.

Mr. Norton: It is heartbreaking.

Mr. Loughman: The Minister decided that and we have to accept it. We gave that to Waterford. Deputy Corish appeared to suggest that we attempted to gerrymander.

In the name of heaven, what else is that but the most obvious gerrymandering that was ever known? Without changing the boundaries of Waterford, it could have been made a four-seat constituency by adding a small number of voters to it. Instead of that, Fianna Fáil carved up whole parishes, townlands and electoral areas in the west of Waterford, and put them right into South Tipperary.

They can still vote there.

This will be used by our fellow countrymen in Northern Ireland. They will show this map of Tipperary and it will be a good match for the snake they have in Derry that goes round and about and in and out.

Fianna Fáil think they are only poor scholars.

I would suggest that even at this late stage it could be changed to three for North Tipperary, three for South Tipperary and four for Waterford, as suggested in the amendment, and leave the boundaries of Waterford as they are. I wonder what would have happened if force had been used with Waterford Deputies and a big slice of East Cork were thrown in——

It would not be for the first time.

I am sure it would not pass as easily as this is passing. I am sure East Cork members would not come in here to mock us about it. They would mind their own constituency and leave it at that.

We still elect a Corkman in Waterford.

It was Waterford which elected him.

Yes. I am sorry.

It is becoming fashionable in the House for Ministers and Deputies to come in and make solemn statements and then, not after the passage of a long time but in a very short time, deliberately to deny that they ever made such statements. This is one of the times when many people have it fresh in their minds that Deputy Loughman said: "Very reluctantly, we agreed that that portion should be taken from South Tipperary and tacked on to North Tipperary."

Quite right.

But Deputy Loughman went on to say at Column 221: "While I am not going to say what I could have done, I would not mind showing Deputy Lindsay on a map what I could have done and how effective it could be, so far as I was concerned." This is evidently the organiser of the whole business. He says here in the House only five minutes ago that there is a terrible difference between the people in Carrick and Waterford and between the people of Tipperary and Waterford, but here, in column 221, he says: "No matter how the Waterford constituency or the Tipperary constituency was divided, there could not be any gerrymandering, because the people are the same generally throughout the country." I want to know where we are with him.

I said that Carrick was Tipperary-minded, and Deputy Kyne said the reverse.

He said there was no affinity between Carrick and Waterford, but there certainly is. If we kept going on further into this, we might even get from Deputy Loughman the pencil with which he marked out these divisions.

That will be put in the Museum.

Mr. Lynch

It would be a very interesting thing. This constituency of Waterford within the bounds of the county of Waterford had practically enough voters to justify its having four seats. The remainder of the constituency of South Tipperary had not enough voters for four seats—it had a little over the three. I am not going to elaborate on this too much, but the obvious thing for the Minister to have done was to have left Tipperary a three-seat constituency and add a small bit to Waterford. Instead, he has carved off an enormous piece from County Waterford in order to make South Tipperary a four-seat constituency.

I should like to intervene for a moment in connection with this dispute that has taken place between the representatives of Waterford and of South Tipperary. It is quite evident that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction in both counties, if we are to judge by the statements by Deputies on both sides of the House. I accept what has been said by them with regard to the dissatisfaction.

I have examined the map of the constituencies of Waterford and South Tipperary, and I am amazed at the fact that geographically these constituencies are very small in comparision with some in the west, for example, my own constituency of Roscommon, which now embraces portion of Leitrim and is a four-seat constituency, extending over 85 miles in length. The Waterford constituency is only a fraction of that size. The same applies to South Tipperary, so that there would be no great difficulty or hardship for any Waterford Deputy in travelling from Waterford into Tipperary and considering the needs of people there, or for Deputies from South Tipperary to extend their activities over to the coast of Waterford.

I suggest that there is a very sound case to be made for making a seven-seat constituency out of Waterford and South Tipperary. One of the factors that persuades me to make that suggestion is the Minister's contribution on the last day when he pointed out, and rightly so, that he himself had taken steps to implement proportional representation in its fairest form, namely, by reducing the number of three-seat constituencies and increasing the number of four- and five-seat constituencies. It is beyond contradiction that the fairest form or interpretation of proportional representation can be achieved where a constituency embraces a large number of Deputies. We had in this country a nine-seat constituency. I am not suggesting that on this occasion we should return to that, but the Minister has said that perhaps at a future date there will be a further reduction of three-seat constituencies and a consequent increase in the number of four- or five- or perhaps six-seat constituencies.

I do not think it would be too much to suggest to him, taking him at his word, that he should on this occasion solve the difficulties that are facing him both in his own Party, I believe, and in the interests of the general public, by combining these two constituencies. That would give fair representation, and it would be up to the people themselves to decide whether the odd man will be from Waterford or from Tipperary. It would be essentially a democratic decision made by the people of both areas, rather than one made by this House which is being opposed by the Deputies on behalf of their constituents. I suggest to the Minister that as far as a democratic basis is concerned, there can be no objection in the world to making it a seven-seat constituency.

If you were to make a seven-seat constituency in other parts of the country, it would be a most unwieldy affair. In Roscommon, you would nearly need to bring in Sligo and Leitrim or perhaps part of Deputy Carty's constituency. That would mean a tremendous distance to cover for any Deputy, and it would be very difficult for him to consult his constituents and have a knowledge of their requirements so as to be in a position to act quickly. No such argument can be put forward with regard to Waterford and Tipperary. It is a compact unit, or could be made into one, and it is not unreasonable to suggest that it should be made a seven-seat constituency. I strongly urge the Minister to make that alteration.

The last speaker would certainly find a way out, but I doubt if that way out would receive a welcome from the Deputies from either Tipperary or Waterford. Whether it did or not, the basis on which the Deputy makes his proposition now is not quite in accordance with the facts of the matter. In the course of the debate the last day, Deputy Mulcahy said P.R. was being defeated because there were not larger constituencies, constituencies with a larger number of members. To satisfy him I pointed out that, far from going in that direction, under these proposals we had gone in the other direction and had reduced the number of three-seat constituencies from 22 under the 1947 Act to the 17 proposed in this Bill.

I also suggested that that trend might continue in the future, but it is far from the truth to deduce from that statement that that represents my own belief. I should like the House to be aware of the situation at this stage. I disagree entirely with the suggestion of joining South Tipperary and Waterford to form one constituency. If we take the country from Waterford city to the North-West extremity of South Tipperary up to the electoral division of Cappagh, we find that such a constituency would be as unwieldy as any of those complained about here.

Deputy Kyne and Deputy Lynch charged that gerrymandering was the motive behind this division of the constituencies. It has been said not only on the last Bill but also, I think, on this Bill, that one cannot indulge in gerrymandering in this part of the country, even if one were disposed to do so, because our people are not grouped politically in well-known entities in any part of the State. Without that prerequisite, therefore, you could not possibly consider that gerrymandering could be carried out here with any degree of success. I think that was accepted in the debate on the 1959 Bill but, if proof is needed, it comes from the Deputies who have made these charges. During the course of his speech Deputy Kyne himself said that Fianna Fáil might lose a seat in Waterford.

Because of the reaction to your gerrymandering.

Do not let us jump our fences before we come to them. I agree entirely that Fianna Fáil could lose a seat in Waterford just as easily as Labour or Fine Gael. That is why I say the proof has come from Deputy Kyne himself that the charge of gerrymandering is absolutely without foundation.

That is a bit too innocent.

Gerrymandering can be successful only if the political Party bringing it about stand to gain by it. It would be a queer sort of gerrymandering that would bring about a loss for the political Party concerned. But that is what could happen in the constituencies of Waterford and South Tipperary or any other constituency.

You would have lost a seat in South Tipperary but for gerrymandering.

Who says we will not lose it anyway ? Is the Deputy prepared to lay odds on it now ?

I would not back on Loughman with bad money.

The Deputy knows he is making a case based, first, on the groundless charge of gerrymandering and, secondly, on the suggestion that the breach of the county boundary between Waterford and South Tipperary is "vandalism", as it was described at a protest meeting, and with which Deputy Kyne fully concurs.

In fact, I would almost agree with that resolution myself. Whether you add one seat to either Waterford or South Tipperary, the boundary will be mutilated in any case. That is what the Deputies from Waterford should remember. There is no other alternative. We have all this sanctimonious talk about vandalism, but whether you make either Waterford or South Tipperary the four-seat constituency, the county boundaries as such must disappear under this Bill, whether we like it or not. That is why I say I would almost go as far as those who refer to "vandalism" in this resolution, but we are required to do this by law whether we like it or not.


Surely the Deputies on the opposite side will admit that I, of all the people here, have gone to great lengths to indicate my own mind on these matters? I do not believe in the breaking up of county boundaries, but the law is there and it must be done. We have no choice in the matter. It has been no pleasure for me to have to listen to people talking in the terms I have heard here. It has been no pleasure for me either to get up and defend what has been done, but the fact remains that the law is there and it must stand. It rests on the interpretation given in the judgment of the High Court.

Deputy Kyne, in his amendment and during his speech, and Deputy Lynch said that the division they advocated meant the addition to Waterford of only Carrick-on-Suir and Carrickbeg. It means more than that. In fact, if we were to reverse the procedure, reduce South Tipperary to three seats and bring Waterford up to four, we would have to go in either one of two directions. We would have to go either east of Clonmel or west of Clonmel. We must leave Clonmel alone. Clonmel as an entity is too big and it would be absolutely ridiculous to divide it. Going either east or west of Clonmel, we would have to breach the county boundary of South Tipperary. If we breached it to the east we would have to take in not only Carrick-on-Suir and Carrickbeg but we would have to take in an area that would run north-east as far as Mullinahone.

If we went to the west of Clonmel we would have to take in an area of south and south-west Tipperary running within three or four miles of Tipperary town. Have a look at what that looks like and see what choice we have in this matter and see whether all the arguments are in favour of the solution proposed by the Waterford Deputies rather than the proposals in this Bill. A number of Deputy Kyne's figures, although nearly correct, were not correct.

I said they were whole numbers—to the nearest hundred.

I do not think so, but I do not base my arguments merely on the fact that a number of the figures used by the Deputy were not correct.

They were the Minister's figures.

They were not the actual figures. Our figures diverge in a number of cases. But I am not making the argument on the basis that the Deputy's figures are wrong and that mine are right. He has made certain calculations and computations which gave him a basis of population that showed Waterford County to be of greater size in population than was the Tipperary South Riding area. If he wants to go on figures, I am prepared to go with him on figures.

Let us take the population as I found it in the 1947 census which is the pattern we naturally went back upon, after the High Court decision, to consider all these matters. Let us take the county constituency of Waterford. According to the last census, the total population in that constituency is 73,180. For the Tipperary South Riding constituency we find that the figure of population in the last census is 73,718.

Deputy Kyne set about dressing up his Waterford figure before he started making comparisons. He added a bit of Kilkenny that came in by way of an expansion of the city boundary since the 1947 Act became law. It came in in 1955. In addition to that he says we knocked off a bit of South Tipperary and threw it into North Tipperary. By taking that from the South Tipperary figure in the 1947 Act and comparing it with the boosted figures in the Tipperary County constituency of 1947 plus a bit from County Kilkenny he then can show that the Waterford County constituency has a greater claim, if claim there be, to the additional seat than has South Tipperary.

Have a look at the 1947 boundary. Have a look at the 1946 census as applied to it and, using that yardstick, the argument is not all with Deputy Kyne as to why the seats should go on one side of the boundary or the other. I do not like the overall position. Many people in this House do not like it. There is nothing we can really do about it at this present juncture. Whether or not the members on all sides of this House may see the wisdom of doing something positive about it in the future I do not know but I sincerely hope they will and that we can get a reasonable approach to this matter, an approach which was regarded as lawful until the matter came before the High Court—lawful all down through the years since the establishment of the State. There was no niggling one way or the other as to a few hundred up or down when boundaries were to be maintained.

The differentials we worked on from the extreme lowest to the extreme highest in the 1959 Act were very little different from the differentials that existed in 1947. The differential we are now compelled to work within is far lower than any differential ever operated under any of the Acts since 1922. I think that position will in time come, by common sense, to be rearranged and that circumstances will be brought about that will enable us to change the situation in which we now find ourselves. Until then this is the situation in which we find ourselves. It is the situation in which future Ministers for Local Government and future members of this House will find themselves, increasingly, in Bills twelve years from now. I have no doubt the problem will not ease: rather is it likely that it may become more acute. Time will tell that. If we are to maintain, as I think we should maintain in a common-sense sort of way, our natural administrative county or electoral area or other type of recognised clearly-defined boundaries we shall have to change something much more radically, something much more important than just a matter of changing part of the Schedule to this Bill.

I feel the time will come when we shall do that. Speaking for myself, I assure Deputies I shall be very glad to see that time come. I sincerely believe that the manner in which we must now operate is not in the best interests of the community as a whole. It does not make for fair representation of all our people, no matter in what part of the country they may be. The sooner that can be changed the better I personally shall be pleased.

The Minister surprises me. He is most anxious for these changes. Who stopped him? Some of us thought that in view of the decision of the High Court the Minister and the Taoiseach would move here for an amendment of the Constitution which would give them the power to make all the alterations they wished and about which the Minister speaks so seriously. Why did they not do that? Then they could have got over their problem of boundaries, and so on. They made no attempt to do so.

The Minister tells us there was no gerrymandering. He said it could not be done. "We could not get the true census of political opinion and thought." Does he take us to be fools? Does the Minister not know that Fianna Fáil have the full report on the voting strength in every ballot box in the Twenty-six Counties since the Referendum which was held two years ago?

I wish we had.

Do not tell us otherwise.

What does that prove ?

Parties in Opposition cannot know their political strength arising out of that position because all those people who voted against the wiping out of P.R. combined. That was a combination of political thought and support—supporters of Fine Gael, of Farmers, of Independents, and of Labour. But all those who voted for the change, who answered the Whip to make it a single-seat constituency, for the benefit of Fianna Fáil, were supporters of that Party. In every ballot box the position was known to the organisation of Fianna Fáil and it is now known to the Minister. The result is that not alone in every electoral area is the position known but it was known when this Bill was being compiled and known last year when the illegal Bill was put before us.

As I said here last year, Fianna Fáil then gerrymandered and are now gerrymandering but to a lesser extent. They are greatly limited by a decision of a High Court judge. Now, Fianna Fáil say: "We could not do any more. We are bound by the decision of the High Court." Could they not say: "We could not gerrymander any better because we were caught"? The Minister tells us about the census figures of South Tipperary and Waterford. I do not know why we are getting these publications if they are not correct. Apparently, the Minister now tells us that the publications Deputies receive are not correct.

According to the publication I study, as well as Deputy Kyne and others, the 1956 figures show us clearly a higher population in Waterford than in South Tipperary for the basis of election for a Deputy and for the population itself. If that is wrong, the Minister had better get on to somebody else. I should much prefer to accept the figures as published in the 1956 census than to accept the word of the Minister here now. He says we must go back to 1947. He says that as they were caught and had to mend their hand, they must go back, not to the 1956 figures but to the 1947 figures. They went back only to the 1959 figures until they were caught.

The plain truth is, as we all know, that Waterford had a higher figure on census returns and the Minister now realises that he is in much the same position as that of a certain statesman who is apparently in protective custody, a gentleman named Tshombe, making a plea for tolerance, as it were, on the part of those who were in opposition and pointing out how helpless he was and that he could do nothing.

We now know what the Minister did. He had no alternative. He was surrounded on all sides, bewitched, bothered and bewildered by all the trouble brought upon him by the people who said, as quoted by a Deputy a little while ago, they could not do any more about it after consultation. There is no justification for slashing away one-third of a county from the rest of the county. Even accepting the Minister's statement that he had no alternative but to go over the natural boundary, that did not give him the right to give to a minority— the constituency of South Tipperary— the right of taking one-third of a county from the majority.

Deputy Loughman says he knows some people down there. I am sure he has been down there already. The only trouble the Minister may have is that the people will get to know Deputy Loughman. This is a glaring case of injustice and just as bad as was done to Cork last year. Even with the support of Deputy Loughman, the Minister can give no fact to justify slashing Waterford for the benefit of Tipperary.

There is a lot to be said in favour of Deputy McQuillan's suggestion. What surprised me was how clearly Deputy Loughman pointed out that there was no animosity between the people of Tipperary and Waterford. If that is so, and if the people of Waterford think so much of Deputy Loughman and if the people of Tipperary think so much of the Waterford Deputies, there is nothing wrong with making it a seven-seat constituency of South Tipperary and Waterford. There might then be some hope for the people of West Waterford who will otherwise be depending—quite likely —on a Fianna Fáil Deputy from Tipperary to represent one-third of the county in the Dáil. The Minister hit this point without meaning to do so because not only will that be the situation for the next couple of years but it may be the situation for 12 years— the people being represented by a man far removed from them and far away from their local authorities.

I certainly support Deputy Kyne's amendment. There is nothing to be said for the Minister's proposal which is supported so solidly by Deputy Loughman. If the Minister fails to see reason for accepting Deputy Kyne's suggestion on a political basis, the only real alternative is Deputy McQuillan's proposal of a seven-seat constituency for South Tipperary and Waterford.

Can the Minister assure me that he did not discuss and decide on the allocation of seats with members of the Fianna Fáil Party who are members of this House in this House two weeks before the House was officially informed of the decision? I challenge the Minister to deny that. It is true because I received—as no doubt did other members of all Parties —information two or three weeks before ever the Bill was printed. We knew exactly where the twists and turns were because the Bill was examined at Party level in this House, with a view to the advantages to be secured by Fianna Fáil. I also say to the Minister that at one stage prior to publication of the Bill the urban area of Carrick, including Carrickbeg, was proposed for inclusion in Waterford, and Waterford was to have four seats. These facts are well known, no matter how the Minister protests or attempts to fool the public. He cannot fool the ordinary Deputies who know what I am saying to be exactly the truth.

It is quite wrong.

The Deputy knew these facts——

I deny it absolutely.

The Deputy discussed it with me before the Bill was printed.

I never did.

Now we know why "we reluctantly agreed".

That was a different question altogether.

If what the Minister says is correct, this Bill is not aimed at eliminating opposition in Waterford. Does anybody think it is natural for Deputies of any Party not to resent or protest against the loss of a seat in their constituency when it proportionately lessens their chances of being returned to the House? Is it not strange that neither of the two Fianna Fáil Deputies from Waterford have protested publicly or privately or in the House in connection with the reduction of one seat in their constituency? What is the logical inference? It is either Party discipline—that you must subordinate your county interest and your personal interests to the overall interests of the Party—or they themselves believe the change has certain advantages. I am not accusing them of either motive. I can only draw my own conclusions from their silence but if they felt, as I do, that this was a worsening of the status of Waterford city and county, it would be their duty to stand up as I am doing and speak their minds in this House.

I had no hope that this amendment would be accepted. I am not talking to get the Minister to change his mind—I knew that was impossible from the day the Bill was printed— but I am talking through this House to the people of Waterford and I hope my words will be read and considered and that the effect will be that this measure will boomerang on the Minister and that in his efforts to save Deputy Loughman——

No such thing.

——it will not succeed.

I do not worry in any case.

Deputy Breen will come home ahead of him, anyway.

Save Deputy Kyne.

In their effort to do what I have described, Fianna Fáil will lose Deputy Loughman and they may also lose another in Waterford so that their second state will be worse than their first. I hope that will be the case and everything I can do will be aimed at achieving that result.

The Minister immediately slapped down Deputy McQuillan's proposal. If Waterford were made a seven-seat constituency, I can assure the House Labour would win two seats. There is no need to worry too much about the distance which is not much more than 60 miles from end to end. Deputy McQuillan's area is about 90 miles. But that would not worry us too much. On behalf of the Labour group in Waterford, I can assure the House we would be quite willing to contest the election on the old constituency boundary. That will not be accepted, I know. There will be no compromise. The Minister tries to tell me that it is not possible to gerrymander because the areas are not built up in groups. How, in the name of goodness, is it possible then to build an area in the north with an all-Protestant group.

You do not build the group; they are already there.

Does not the Minister know that it is Deputy Ormonde who will suffer most as a result of taking in this particular portion? The Minister is counting on the fact that there was half a quota over and above two quotas and so Fianna Fáil can afford to lose 2,000 votes. It is just too stupid to expect me not to notice the gerrymandering.

The Deputy's figures are as woolly as his arguments.

If the Minister will read his speech on last Thursday, he will see that he said he hoped to do as little violation as possible to natural boundaries. Surely he does not contend that drawing a line from Carrick down to Templemichael, across the whole of the county, is an insignificant mutilation? In reply to a question, the Minister told me that the population of Waterford was 74,031, according to the 1956 census. Does the Minister now say that figure is wrong?

I think there is a misunderstanding. The 1955 extension of the boundary of the city of Waterford was prior to the 1956 census. The 1956 census, therefore, included that part of Kilkenny known as Rockingham, which is now brought into Waterford. Therefore, in the reply given, the figure would be 74,000 odd, whereas the figure I have quoted is 73,000 odd.

In the reply given in volume 181 of the Official Report, the Minister gave the figure of 74,031 for Waterford and 73,718 for South Tipperary. Does the Minister now say that is incorrect?

That was in relation to the Act that was declared invalid.

But the decision of the court did not declare the figures invalid.

My figures are correct. If the Deputy wants to make his own figures, I have no objection.

The decision did not invalidate the figures.

No, but it made us cut out one seat in that part of the country.

Maybe the Minister thought he was doing us a favour. He says the figure was 74,031 under the Act that was declared invalid. Under the same Act, the figure for South Tipperary was 73,718. That gives 318 more votes in Waterford.

More voters.

More voters. Why does the Minister say Waterford had to lose a seat when Waterford had 318 more potential voters than the adjoining constituency? What was the reason other than to get Deputy Loughman in? Will the Minister tell me the reason in one sentence?

I could not guarantee to do that. It might be too difficult.

There are approximately 2,000 more potential voters in Waterford than in South Tipperary. Yet the Minister says he was compelled by law to reduce the number of seats in Waterford and to leave South Tipperary as it is. It is an extraordinary position. South Tipperary has not a shadow of the claim Waterford has. Outside of Dublin city and county, Waterford is the next highest area in the whole of the Twenty-six Counties. It is higher than Cork, Dún Laoghaire, Limerick or anywhere else. The figures can be examined. They have been issued by the Central Statistics Office. I know I am correct in the arguments I am advancing here. This is gerrymandering of the cheapest, lowest and dirtiest kind ever carried out under any electoral measure. I resist it here in the House and will continue to do so elsewhere.

I know that by pressure of votes the Minister can impose his will in this matter, but he can never claim that he had justice on his side because he has not given a single fact to repudiate the case I made beyond his ridiculous statement that taking away Carrick-on-Suir would violate the boundary. I challenge the Minister as to where the suggestions I made would in any way violate the High Court ruling.

I have not heard for quite a long time, nor do I hope to hear again for quite a long while, such a befuddled, muddled calculation as was adduced here by Deputy Kyne.

The Minister always gets personal when he is beaten.

The Deputy has been more personal in this matter than I could ever be. I do not want to descend to his level in this matter. In so far as answers to the questions I have been able to interpret as being asked by the Deputy are concerned, putting Carrick-on-Suir and Carrickbeg into Waterford would bring in 4,700 population which would be deducted from the total number of the population of South Tipperary leaving approximately 69,000 population for three seats. Deducting from that figure again 2,900-odd would bring you down to 66,000. What the Deputy does not seem to realise is that allowing Waterford to get away with that addition of 4,700 would bring us to the position of having in South Tipperary a higher ratio than any other constituency in the country and would bring us beyond the total aggregate in differential that has been laid down by the High Court ruling and in the Constitution.

Deputy Kyne could not see that if numbers were brought in from South Tipperary to Waterford sufficient to bring down the ratio in South Tipperary, Waterford would then be greater than the highest elsewhere in the country. Otherwise it would mean that on the eastern side of South Tipperary you must go northwards as far as Mullinahone, because if you went on the other side of Clonmel you must go north and north-westwards to within a few miles of Tipperary town in order to get the numbers brought into Waterford sufficient to keep both South Tipperary and Waterford within the requirements of the Constitution. Those are the reasons, but they would not occur to the Deputy. He is not very much concerned about giving the whole picture. The Deputy quoted figures. The figures I will quote for him are taken from the Census of Population for 1956 in Table V which gives the population in each constituency. According to the figures, South Tipperary's population was 73,718 and that of Waterford was 73,107.

Another point stressed was the number of electors in each constituency. So far as the document I have got to bring before the Dáil is concerned, the number of electors do not matter a damn. It is the population that matters and I have given the figures so any argument the Deputy has based on the number of electors is a flat-footed one. I have no discretion in the matter of asking myself how many electors there are in either constituency, much as I might feel inclined to do so. It is the population figure only that must be considered. If the Deputy thought that I was ignoring the figures of electors, I can tell him that there are discrepancies like those he has pointed to in any two constituencies one might wish to compare. However, I cannot officially be aware of that nor is there any point in my being so aware because they do not count and have no bearing on the delineation of the boundaries. That is the answer to the Deputy's figures and the Deputy can check those figures if he feels so inclined.

I am delighted the Minister has now given us the answer as to where he got his figures. The Minister need not be worried that I do not accept those figures. I can produce in this House the figures I secured in reply to a Parliamentary Question.

Would the question be a matter for consideration in this discussion?

The Minister says that by taking in Carrick-on-Suir we would leave such a balance of population in South Tipperary that it would be the highest in the country. Could the Minister say whether it would be higher than Dublin is now? Would the Minister say whether, if I tabled a motion involving a minor alteration of boundaries in South Tipperary, leaving the required number in South Tipperary for three seats, he would accept it on Report Stage?

No, I shall not. I am not so foolish as to accept some hypothetical question that the Deputy may now have in the clouds of his mind.

I said that if the Minister were satisfied it would meet the requirements of the High Court ruling——

It is the House, not I.

It is the Minister's Bill.

The Minister will have to justify to the House any changes he proposes.

I am glad to know that the Minister is honest enough to say he will not change it under any circumstances. That is only what I expected. No matter how he twists figures, he cannot ignore the extension of the borough boundary and the increased population that meant to Waterford. According to the Minister himself, Waterford has 339 people more than South Tipperary. All the Minister is doing is steamrolling this provision through the House to save his colleague, Deputy Loughman. Is it not permitted to have a vote on each amendment? They were taken together for discussion.

It was agreed that No. 8 and No. 9 formed a composite amendment to be discussed together and one decision would cover both.

I shall accept that.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 23; Níl, 67.

  • Barry, Richard.
  • Byrne, Tom.
  • Casey, Seán.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Russell, George E.
  • Tully, John.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Donegan, Batt.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Galvin, John.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Johnston, Henry M.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kitt, Mitchael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moloney, Daniel J.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Toole, James.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Teehan, Patrick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Casey and Kyne; Níl, Deputies Ó Briain and Loughman.
Amendment declared lost.

That decision will cover amendment No. 9.

Did we take amendments Nos. 8 and 9 together?

That was agreed.

Are we taking two separate decisions?

That was not the agreement.

Amendment No. 9 not moved.
Entry relating to the constituency of South Tipperary agreed to.
Entry relating to the constituency of Waterford agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the entry relating to the constituency of Wexford stand part of the Schedule."

Would the Minister care to explain the changes he has made in the original adminisstrative constituency of Wexford and perhaps at the same time he might like to justify them?

I take it that what the Deputy is now asking is, in fact, what parts of Wexford County have been ceded to any other constituency. If that is the purpose of his question, the reply is: the district electoral divisions of Ballybeg, Kilrush, Kiltealy, Moyacomb, Newtownbarry, Rossard, St. Mary's and Tombrack. These give a total of 4,652, which is being added to the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency, so reducing the population in the constituency, as we now know it, of Wexford county, from 87,259 to 82,600 and losing one seat—in other words, four seats to the 82,600—and also bringing up the other constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny by an amount in population required to justify its retaining the five seats it has had.

Would the Minister say was there portion of the population of Carlow-Kilkenny taken away by the extension of the Waterford city boundary and if that is what caused the decrease in the population?

No, that would not be quite so. It accounts for part of it. In fact, 800 odd was the number going in from Kilkenny to Waterford.

How many people did the Minister say were taken from Wexford?

Are these people or electors?


How many electors?

I do not know.

I know. Would the Minister agree with these figures, that the population of the original administrative constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny, according to the 1947 Act, was 98,838?

Population under the 1947 Act?

Or as based on the 1947 Act—98,838.

Exactly, yes. Would the Minister agree that dividing 98,838 by five would have given him 19,700 and odd votes per seat and would he not further agree that if that is the case he would be within the ruling of the High Court judge in the case of Carlow-Kilkenny?

Yes, but what is the point? I take it the Deputy has something else to follow.

I happen to represent a constituency until the next General Election—we will see what happens after that—from which the Minister has taken 5,000 votes. I find it very difficult to justify the Minister's action in taking 5,000 votes away from Wexford and pushing them into Carlow-Kilkenny when Carlow-Kilkenny already has a quota for five seats.

I do not blame the Deputy, as a Wexford man, for asking that question but, in fact, if we did not have this surplus, and it is a surplus in Wexford which we had to get rid of, we would not have added them to Carlow-Kilkenny. We did not do it to bring Carlow-Kilkenny up because, as the Deputy has said, dividing the number of seats into 98,838 would have brought us within the terms of the judgment but, within the same High Court judgement, 87,259 in Wexford could not be justified for five seats and could not be justified for four seats because it was too big and the average would be too great. So that, we had to take it from Wexford and, as it so happened, it was possible to accommodate that excess of Wexford in the adjoining constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny.

Could it not be left in Wexford?

No. On these figures it is too much.

The people around that area will not take too kindly to the Minister's description of it as a surplus that had to be got rid of.

They could scarcely be identified because I was talking of the county as a whole. You will have to find where they are. It does not follow that it is these people.

The position is that there were sufficient votes in Carlow-Kilkenny for five seats, but there were too many votes in Wexford for four seats. Am I right in that?

Well, yes, in a rough sort of way.

Perhaps the Minister would not mind telling me how many votes too many there were in Wexford to comply with the judgment of the High Court—the actual figure?

The judge did not lay down a definite figure which I could multiply by four or five and say it was the absolute maximum which could justify four or five seats. There is no doubt, however, that the division of 87,259 by four gives a higher ratio than the highest ratio in any other constituency.

Yes, but the Minister has not answered my question. My contention is that Carlow-Kilkenny had a sufficient population to get five seats and the Minister tells me Wexford has too great a population. I want to know by how much our population was too large that votes had to be taken out of it. It is a simple question.

The Deputy may be a very simple man and simple in his approach, but it is not a simple question. We have got ourselves out on a limb discussing this one aspect, the High Court judgment. It is in the application of what the High Court said that we have been making arguments and asking ourselves questions. That Wexford has in this instance more than could justify four seats and that Carlow-Kilkenny can be said to have sufficient to justify five seats is a relative matter. Another aspect that must be considered is the overall spread, the overall differential between the lowest ratio in any constituency and the highest ratio in any constituency.

Would the Minister say what is the highest?

The highest is 20,916 and it is in the light of the highest and lowest ratios that we must work out the pattern to conform with the High Court judgment. The Deputy's question is not as simple as it at first appears. One cannot say exactly by how much Wexford would exceed the number that would justify four or five seats but it is quite true to say that something had to be taken out of Wexford. It is too big. Its average would be boosted higher than that in any other constituency thus creating a greater differential than would be in conformity with the judgment in the courts.

I agree with the Minister that something had to be taken from Wexford but I am not convinced that it was necessary to take out what it is proposed to take out. If he looks at the map, he will find that the new constituency of Wexford has been wedged into considerably by the constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny. Eight electoral districts have been taken out of Wexford. I contend that the Minister would still have been within the Constitution and within the ruling of the High Court, if he had taken out six. I do not think there is any justification for going right into the middle of the county.

There is one district there from Tombrack to within two miles of the central point of North Wexford. The townland of Ballybeg also goes right into the centre of the county. If the Minister takes out Kilrush, Kiltealy, Moyacomb, Newtownbarry, Rossard, and St. Mary's and leaves in Ballybeg and Tombrack as part of the Wexford constituency, as they are entitled to be, will he still not have the correct population? It would leave Wexford a more normal constituency than it is now. Anybody who looks at the map can see that the new division is ludicrous. Would the Minister agree to look into that?

In any division that could have been made, it is possible to say that perhaps we could do without the ten people of this town-land or the 101 people in that half street, but this is the way to look at this question: we add the population of Carlow-Kilkenny and Wexford together and divide that by the total number of seats. You must then see how this relates to the terms of the court's judgment. It will be found that the additions and subtractions we have made result in the ratios in the two constituencies being nearer to the national average than otherwise could be achieved. We are nearer to the national average by adding those eight townlands than we would be if we added those six. If I were asked why it was decided to include these eight instead of the six, I would say the reason I have given was the basis for it.

It seems to me the Minister is penalising Wexford unnecessarily. All he has to do is to get his ratio in relation to five seats in Carlow-Kilkenny and in relation to four seats in Wexford. Can he not tell me, with his advisers beside him, whether he would not still have the ratio right in Carlow and in Wexford, if he left the townlands of Ballybeg and Tombrack where they rightly belong in County Wexford? Surely the Minister can answer that simple question?

It appears to me that any Deputy who has a special case winds up by making an argument in favour of the constituency he represents in order that he can say to his constituents: "I did my best; you cannot blame me." Whatever is done, he hopes they will remain charitably disposed towards him for fighting so hard for them in this House. I am uncharitable enough to think that is prompting Deputy Esmonde's contribution in this matter.

The Minister is the Minister for Local Government responsible for this Bill. I am discussing, as I am entitled to discuss, the constituency I represent.

I submit that I am entitled to an answer to a simple question. The Minister has his advisers. A Cheann Comhairle, I appeal to you, as you have just taken the Chair. The Minister for Local Government is responsible for this Bill. I am a Deputy for Wexford. I have submitted a simple question to the Minister. According to the Bill, he is taking eight electoral divisions from my constituency and putting them into Carlow-Kilkenny. I have asked him will he not equate the position in Carlow-Kilkenny which has five seats and likewise equate it in Wexford which now has four seats.

I do not want to use any nasty terms like gerrymandering or political expediency, which I could easily use, because, as the Minister says, I am a simple fellow. I accept that I am a simple fellow, and I do not like to say those things. I have asked a perfectly straightforward and reasonable question. The Minister has his advisers beside him and could give me the answer. He has more or less suggested that I am being obstructive. He is the Minister, who is paid to do that job. I suggest that he should show me ordinary courtesy and answer my question. If he says he does not know the answer but that he will consider it before Report Stage, I shall be satisfied. I do not like to be insulted in this House. The Minister has not the right to insult me.

If the Deputy was as concerned as he now appears to be, he would have put down an amendment to give effect to what he is now saying. Instead, at the winding up of this Committee Stage, he has asked a question, the answer to which he apparently knows. Since he knows it and it is so convincing to him, why did he not put down an amendment dealing with these couple of divisions in Wexford about which he is so perturbed? I have already tried to answer the Deputy. I will consider what he has said, and if I can make any further sense from it, I will try to give him the fullest satisfaction on Report Stage.

The figures for the adjoining constituencies of Carlow-Kilkenny and Wexford, as proposed in the Bill, are in accord, and more so than they would be if the Deputy had his way with regard to excluding these other two divisions from the eight I have included in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency. The figures are better in both constituencies than they would be if the Deputy had his way and had them changed. As I say, over and above that, despite the fact that I believe that, and put it to the House that that is so, for what it is worth, I will consider the matter the Deputy has put before me.

The Minister has shown a more reasonable approach than the one we heard a few moments ago. Am I to understand that on Report Stage he will give me the population figures for the electoral divisions? I know the voting figures already, but I have been unable to get the population figures. The whole basis of the Bill rests not on the voting figures but on the population figures. I should be obliged if the Minister would give them to me on Report Stage.

I shall send them to the Deputy right away.

The Minister has his own difficulties with relation to his feelings on handling a measure of this type. He cannot satisfy everybody but in Carlow-Kilkenny, on the one hand, and in Wexford, on the other, he is imposing an unnecessary refinement based entirely on an arithmetical situation. In order to work in that arithmetical refinement, he has outraged the feelings of a certain number of people. From the arithmetical point of view, or the legal point of view, he is unnecessarily forcing a certain number of the population to vote for Carlow-Kilkenny Deputies rather than Wexford Deputies.

As I say, it is entirely a matter of arithmetical refinement and the position is that the arithmetical rearrangement has not as great an effect as the Minister expects on the population figures, looking at the realities of the thing in relation to the actual electoral figures. I pointed out that the figure given by the Minister some time ago in relation to portion of North Tipperary as the estimated electorate of that area was 1,531 and that the actual number of Dáil voters is 1,459. In view of the fact that a fall like that in the figures is probably hidden in the new electoral register, the arithmetical necessity is not as great as the Minister may feel it is.

On this question of a purely arithmetical refinement, the feelings of a certain number of the population are being outraged. They are being put in the position of voting for Carlow-Kilkenny Deputies rather than Deputies from the county to which they naturally belong.

I know it is too late, but I should like to make the suggestion for the Minister's consideration that the eight electoral divisions should be left in the constituency of Wexford. Even with four Deputies, we would far prefer to represent the whole county rather than part of the county. I feel that those concerned in the eight electoral divisions would also prefer that. I realise that I am probably asking for the impossible in that. The electoral divisions of Kiltealy and Rossard have been ceded to Carlow-Kilkenny. Rossard, for instance, includes portion of the parish of Ballindaggin and goes within four or five miles of the town of Enniscorthy. I feel sure that Deputy Esmonde will agree that the town of Enniscorthy is in the heart of Wexford, if it is possible for any town to be there. So far as we in Wexford are concerned, we know there is nowhere to place the blame. There is no question about that, but we will never forgive Fine Gael for butchering——

Blame your own Constitution. Do not blame the High Court judge or Fine Gael.

It is rather touching and edifying at this stage to see concern expressed by the people opposite for the Constitution. It is a pity they did not show that concern when the Constitution was being put to the people in 1937.

You made it, and we will see that you stick to it.

Question put and agreed to.
Entry relating to the constituency of Wicklow agreed to.
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.

When will the Report Stage be taken?

As soon as the House would like to give it to me.

I would like to make a point. I intend to try to meet some of the objections the Minister raised to the method of dividing up these constituencies so as to give a pro rata number in accordance with the High Court judge's decision, both to South Tipperary and to Waterford. It will be necessary for me to secure a copy of the Dáil Report of to-day to have the statistics which the Minister gave and to check the various details, and it would be impossible for an ordinary Deputy without the assistance the Minister has from his officials to put forward an amendment within the few days that would be left. I would suggest that, in fairness and to give those of us who are interested in it an opportunity, it should be at least two weeks from to-day or from yesterday, whichever the Minister would prefer. I think that is essential.

With regard to the figures which the Deputy says he must get from the Dáil Reports, it will take him three or four days to get the figures there. They are fully available in the Census of Population for 1956, which is available in the Library for any Deputy who wants to see it.

That is so, but there seems to be a conflict between the figures I have and what the Minister stated. There is also a question of checking in the urban area of Carrick and the local registers there and in the city of Waterford, the number of people who came in in the extensions, and the various dates of the extensions of the boundary, to see if there are differences, because there are apparently differences between the figures I tried to arrive at honestly and the Minister's figures. I would say that that checking could not be done. I will be confined to this House till 12 o'clock to-morrow and would not have an opportunity of doing anything until Friday at the earliest. It will entail a visit to Carrick and to Waterford and possibly looking up the Census of 1956 and various other things, as well as examining the speech of the Minister. That will not be available until to-morrow in typescript form and can only be got through the courtesy of the speaker who made it. It is not unfair to request time because it is not easy for an ordinary Deputy to get his information without assistance.

I would certainly facilitate the Deputy by making the typescript available to him this evening and the Census of Population.

I should be very glad of that, but I would ask the Minister for reasonable time. We will meet on the Tuesday of the week following next week. That is only about nine days and it is not too soon.

When will I get the figures I am looking for?

I will give them to the Deputy before he leaves the House. There is no difficulty at all about them or about the Census of Population. There is no difficulty about getting any figures any Deputies have mentioned in the House. The Census of Population returns are in the Library for consultation by anybody.

I want the population figures of the electoral areas.

They are in the returns of the Census, and it is from there that I have got them.

I would like to read the debate and I will not get that till Saturday or possibly Monday.

If the Deputy cannot believe the reports and the statements I have made, I refer him to the Census of Population, which is available to every member in the Library.

Report Stage for?

Tuesday week, I suggest.

I suggest Tuesday of next week.

The Minister is leaving himself open to the suggestion of curtailing amendments.

Or next Wednesday.

I would like to challenge that. Can we divide the House on it?

If the Minister will accept two weeks——

Would it not be wiser that we should be enabled to put it on the Order Paper for next week, and if there is then any good reason for not taking it till the following week, it could be postponed.

That would be satisfactory.

If the Minister will give me some time, if I need it——

Certainly. If the Deputy wants time, we could leave it over, but I would like to have it on the Order Paper for next week.

Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 10th May, 1961.