Census 2016 raises constitutional problems for Government, says Green Party

14 July 2016
By Tom Collins


Political reform activist and Green Party candidate (whenever the next election may be) for Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, has called on the Government to set out how it intends to respond to the consequences of Census 2016 for Dáil constituencies.

The rise in population discovered by the census means the number of people per TD now exceeds the 30,000 limit set out in the constitution. The CSO have confirmed that more than 60% of Dáil constituencies are now beyond this limit. This includes Cork North Central, Cork South Central and Cork East.

Mr Moran said that in his opinion the issue needs to be addressed before an election can be called. Otherwise, he said, the result of an election would be open to constitutional challenge.

Speaking this afternoon, Mr Moran explained:

“This is the direct consequence of the short-sighted decision of the last government to pare down the number of TDs to the minimum allowed under the constitution. Now, 25 out of 40 constituencies have fewer TDs per population than is allowed.”

“The Government can respond in one of two ways. They can dramatically redraw constituencies in the affected regions or they can increase the number of TDs in the affected constituencies. Here in Cork, that would mean making five-seaters out of Cork North Central, Cork South Central and Cork East.”

In 2014, the Fine Gael-Labour government rejected a recommendation of the Constitutional Convention to set the minimum number of TDs per constituency at five. This would have improved the fairness of Dáil election results, particularly for smaller parties like the Greens.

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