ballaghaderreen ECMI Michael Fitzmaurice

Mayo TD proposes that Ballaghaderreen be removed from Roscommon Constituency

ballaghaderreen ECMI Michael Fitzmaurice

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers has made a submission to the Constituency Commission proposing that the greater Ballaghaderreen area be included in a new 5 Seat Mayo/West Roscommon Dáil Constituency.

The submission aims to restore Mayo to a 5 Seat Constituency, which was the case up until the 2012 Constituency Commission Report which areas of South Mayo were included in the “Galway West” Constituency. Deputy Chambers has made two proposals three proposals:

A) “that all of DEDs (District Electoral Divisions) in South County Mayo transferred to Galway West in the 2012 report be returned to Mayo, and in addition sufficient territory from neighbouring counties, most appropriately the western part of county Sligo be added to Co. Mayo to bring the constituency of Mayo/West Sligo to a 5 seat Constituency
the western part of Roscommon in the Ballaghaderreen area to bring the Constituency of Mayo/West Roscommon to a 5 seat constituency.”

B) “that territory from south county Mayo that currently is located in Galway West should be transferred to the constituency of Mayo, allowing Mayo to maximum territory from Co. Mayo to be represented in the Dáil constituency of Co. Mayo.”

Deputy Chambers did not comment on the impact her proposal of adding “the western part of Roscommon in the Ballaghaderreen area” to a new Constituency would have on the current Roscommon/Galway Constituency.

Meanwhile Roscommon County Councillors Michael Creaton and Liam Callaghan made a joint submission that there be no division of County Roscommon in the current review.

They also reminded the Commission of Section 6(C)(2) of the 1997 Electoral Act which states that “the breaching of county boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable.”.
The Councillors concluded by saying any division would “would pose a serious risk” to the county’s identity.

Thomas Jennings has made a similar proposal. Based on the preliminary results of the 2016 Census he says that all of County Galway should be served by two Constituencies: Galway East – a Five Seater and Galway West – a Four Seater. He added that “This would avoid any breach of county boundaries.”

Return of West Athlone?

A submission by Mícheál Ó Faoláin has proposed that the area of Athlone west of the Shannon be added to the current Roscommon/Galway Constituency. In a very detailed submission Mr Ó Faoláin referenced included population growth and referenced possible changes in the Galway City, Galway East and Mayo Constituencies. He anticipates that a re-alignment of areas could leave Roscommon/Galway slightly below the levels for a 3 Seat Constituency and proposed that the 3243 voters of West Urban Athlone be transferred in order to balance the numbers.

Mr Ó Faoláin also reminded the Commission that West Urban Athlone was part of the Roscommon Constituency for General Election purposes up to the late 1970s. “In conclusion the links between the people of South Roscommon and West Athlone are not just based on Province. The links extend accross business, commercial, educational, cultural, sporting ,social and family ties and are very deep rooted. This fact coupled with the abolition of the Athlone Town Council in the recent Local Government Reform Legislation strengthens the case for this change. I also believe it would meet with approval of the people of West Athlone.”

Meanwhile, Minister Denis Naughten has proposed that the current Roscommon/Galway Constituency be retained. He also proposed that a larger part of the area around Ballinasloe town be included in the Constituency if additional population numbers were required to meet the 3 Seat Constituency minimum.

The deadline for submissions to the Constituency Commission closed yesterday and the submissions can be viewed here.