I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 182 together.
I established a Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee on 15 November 2012 to review and make recommendations on the division of each council area, other than Cork City, into local electoral areas, and to make recommendations on the number of members of each council to be assigned to each local electoral area. The Committee was requested to submit its report as soon as possible and, in any event, not later than 31 May 2013.
Constituencies for European Parliament elections were most recently reported on in the 2012 Constituency Commission Report, where no change to the existing arrangement of European Parliament constituencies was recommended. At the time of that report there was no change to the number of members to be elected in Ireland. However, with the accession of Croatia to the European Union this year, there is a need to adjust the distribution of seats in the European Parliament. This is done on the initiative of the European Parliament which adopted a resolution on 13 March 2013 on the composition of the European Parliament for the 2014 – 2019 term. That resolution includes a reduction, from twelve to eleven, in the number of representatives to be elected in Ireland. The matter will next 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.