Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (227)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

227. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the process for changes to local election boundaries; the way in which local residents can input to such processes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24628/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 23 of the Local Government Act 2001 empowers the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to divide a local authority area into local electoral areas and to amend those areas.  However, in advance of deciding to make an order under section 23 of the Act, the Minister must, in accordance with section 32(2) of the Local Government Act 1991, request a boundary committee to make a report having regard to such matters as may be specified by the Minister.  The Minister must publish the report of the boundary committee and must have regard to the report of that committee when deciding to make an order in relation to local electoral area boundaries.

Boundary committees are independent in the performance of their functions and stand dissolved on the expiration of such period of time as may be specified by the Minister at the time of the committees’ establishment.

Section 33 of the Local Government Act 1991 provides that, in preparing such a Report, the Boundary Committee shall consult any local authority concerned.  In addition, Boundary Committees also invite submissions in relation to their review from interested stakeholders, including the public.

For information, the most recent Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees were established on 13 December 2017 and reported on 13 June 2018.  Notice of the Committees’ establishment and role was advertised in the print media and, following a consultation which was also publicly advertised, a total of 372 individual submissions were received by the Committees.  I understand that all contributions were considered by the Committees and helped inform their deliberations.

Orders giving effect to the recommendations in the Reports of the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees in relation to the configuration of local electoral areas were made on 19 December 2018 in the case of all local authorities except Cork.  Orders for Cork City Council and Cork County Council were made on 31 January 2019.