Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (408)

Barry Cowen

Question:

408. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will specify the timeframe for the re-drawing of the European Parliament constituencies; if his new regional authorities, as outlined in Putting People first, will form the basis for future European constituencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12756/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

There is a need to adjust the distribution of seats in the European Parliament to take account of the accession of Croatia this year. This is done on the initiative of the European Parliament which will vote this week on a recommendation, from its Constitutional Affairs Committee, on the composition of the European Parliament for the 2014 – 2019 term. The recommendation includes a reduction, from twelve to eleven, in the number of representatives to be elected in Ireland. After the vote in the European Parliament the matter will go to the European Council for decision by unanimity and with the consent of the European Parliament.

In the event that the number of MEPs to be elected to represent Ireland is reduced it will be necessary to review and revise the constituency arrangement. This can be addressed once decisions are made in Europe. In the meantime my Department is giving consideration to how such a review might be carried out having regard to the provisions of the relevant legislation, that is the Electoral Act 1997 and the European Parliament Elections Act 1997.