Written Answers. - Local Government Electoral Boundaries Commission.


asked the Minister for the Environment the reason Waterford was omitted from the terms of reference of the local government electoral boundaries commission when it has been widely accepted that the proper development of Waterford necessitated the expansion of the city on the north side.

The terms of reference given to the County and County Borough Electoral Area Boundaries Commission relate mainly to the revision of electoral areas and representation so as to bring about a reasonable relationship between population and representation within each local authority concerned, where this does not already exist.

The commission are also required to consult with the county and county borough councils of Cork and Limerick and with the county council and borough council of Galway, and, in the light of these consultations, to recommend whether and in what manner the boundaries of these cities should be extended, and on any consequential increase in the number of members of the city councils concerned.

The intention is that the commission will explore the possibility of local agreement on the question of boundary adjustment so that any agreed changes might be made effective for the local elections to be held in June. The extension of the boundary of Waterford city into County Waterford with effect from 1 January 1980 was, of course, based on agreement.

It was not envisaged that the commission would go into the question of the extension of Limerick city into County Clare or of Waterford city into County Kilkenny in view of the inter-county implications and the limited time available to it.

The terms of reference of the commission in this respect do not prejudice in either direction the issue of the extension of the Waterford city boundary into County Kilkenny. The public statement which I made on 11 January 1985 on local government reorganisation refers to the fact that there is a strong case for adjustment of many town boundaries. The statement indicated that revision of boundaries in respect of a large number of cases could not be dealt with in a short time and that an exhaustive review of those cases will be undertaken in the period between the June elections and the subsequent local elections which it is intended should be held in 1989 in conjunction with the European elections. The case for further extension of the Waterford city boundary will fall to be considered as part of that programme.