LEAKED details from an upcoming report on the future shape of Ireland’s political constituencies have confirmed that West Limerick is, as expected, to be reunited with the rest of the county after the next general election.
Details from the Constituency Commission report, which is due to be published within three weeks, have confirmed that Kerry is to be merged into a single five-seat constituency, a move which will force the 13,352 Limerick people currently in Kerry North-Limerick West back into Limerick, most likely via the creation of a new County Limerick constituency running from border to border.
As reported in the Limerick Leader in April, the results of the latest census and the Government’s commitment to reducing the number of TDS will indirectly see the scrapping of the controversial Kerry North-Limerick West constituency, which was created in 2007.
County Limerick TDs have welcomed the expected return of areas such as Athea, Abbeyfeale, Tournafulla, Glin to the main county constituency.
Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins described the decision as “very welcome news to the communities who felt isolated politically from their neighbouring communities in County Limerick”, and said that the move “will be met with widespread approval” among local voters.
Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan, a fierce critic of the Kerry North-Limerick West experiment, said that a city and county constituency in Limerick is the “most homogenous” solution, while his party colleague Dan Neville said that he will be “very pleased” to be back campaigning in parts of West Limerick where he has been contesting general elections since 1987.
The redrawing of Limerick’s constituencies will have to take place after the creation of a five seat Kerry constituency, due to constitutional rules about the number of TDs per head of population.
It is expected that the commission, which is chaired by Mr Justice John Cooke, will seek the reduction in size of the next Dail by eight TDs to 158.
Bringing 13,352 people in West Limerick back into the county will similarly force some re-drawing of the existing city and county constituencies, as three county TDS will be too few to represent a population of 95,031.