Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (393)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

393. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if it will be possible to hold a referendum regarding changing the wording of the Constitution to allow the numbers of Deputies to be reduced by 20; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12314/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government has no plans to hold a referendum on Article 16.2.2 of the Constitution to allow for TD numbers to be reduced by 20. The focus of the Government is on implementing the Programme for Government commitment to reduce the number of TDs following the publication of the results of the 2011 census. The first step in this was taken with the enactment of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2011 to provide for the Constituency Commission to recommend a total number of members of Dáil Éireann within the range of 153 to 160, reduced from a range of 164 to 168. The next step was the establishment of a Constituency Commission in July 2011 in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 1997. The final step was taken with the initiation of the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Bill on 5 October 2012 to implement in full the recommendations of the Constituency Commission including a reduction in the number of TDs to 158. That Bill was passed by the Dáil on 28 February 2013. It is now being considered by the Seanad. The provisions in that Bill, if it is enacted, would come into effect after the dissolution of the Dáil next following its enactment.