Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages

Sections 1 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.
SCHEDULE

Amendments Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, are related and No. 6 is a physical alternative to amendment No. 5. Amendments Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 7, to delete lines 32 and 33 and substitute the following:

"

Dublin North East

In the city of Dublin the electoral divisions of:

Five

".

Is Deputy Cowen pressing his amendment?

Is the amendment being accepted?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 2 to 4, inclusive, not moved.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 14, to delete line 32 and substitute the following:

"

Louth and East Meath

The county of Louth;

Five

".

I will not be pressing the amendment but I want to make a case, which is being supported by Deputy Breathnach. I am not hung up on the wording but with 22,000 people affected, it is a different constituency from the others like my own where there are small numbers moving in and out of counties. I believe there is a very strong case but in the interests of the tradition of not dividing on issues like this and giving some kind of impression that we are trying to interfere with the commission, I will not press the amendment.

If the Minister of State or the Government were cognisant of the thrust of these amendments in that they seek to recognise the historical significance and geographical location of the constituencies in the previous commission and this one, as referred to by Deputy Ó Cuív, the next time a commission is asked to do a job of work the terms of reference might allow for the Dáil and-or the commission to have greater cognisance of the historical nature of the sites and their topography and to allow that to be reflected in the name of the constituency.

It is the practice that the commission sets the names. As Deputy Ó Cuív mentioned, this report has so many small parcels of counties in different constituencies. I accept the fact that the case in Louth is larger than other examples but there are numerous constituency names and if they were to be fully reflective of the counties that are included, we could have very strange constituency names as things stand. The broader question is how we try to ensure that county boundaries are kept intact when we are doing work on future commissions. That is a job for the electoral commission and it is hoped that legislation will come before the House next year.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 14, to delete line 32 and substitute the following:

"

Louth and Coastal Meath

The county of Louth

Five

".

I will not press the amendment but I want to reiterate what Deputy Cowen said about wiser heads who have been here a lot longer than me. Cognisance needs to be taken of giving people an identity in terms of their constituency. In this modern age we should be capable of coming up with a name and I suggest that the name I propose would be adopted on the next occasion if the constituency stays the same. I am not hung up on whether it is east Meath or coastal Meath.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.