Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan
VOTERS in Cappamore, Doon and Caherconlish should never have been included in the Limerick City constituency, Fine Gael’s Minister of State for Finance and Public Expenditure Reform, has Patrick O’Donovan declared.
And he believes Limerick County constituency should be a four-seat constituency and not a three-seater as is currently the case. He also believes Limerick City should be a three-seat and not a four seat constituency.
His comments follow from the report of the Constituency Commission which saw over 2,000 voters in the Doon West, Cappamore and Bilboa areas transferred back into the Limerick County constituency, even though in the 2016 general election, they were voting in the City constituency.
These voters, Minister O’Donovan argued, have seen a lot of chopping and changing, having been part of the old Limerick East constituency, then Limerick County, before being transferred into Limerick City and now back into Limerick County.
The report also recommended transferring almost 6,000 voters in the Parteen and Westbury suburbs of the city into the Clare constituency in order to restore the integrity of the Clare county boundary. However, at the same time, the report recommended the transfer of 4,375 voters in the Newport and Birdhill areas of Co Tipperary to the Limerick City constituency.
But Minister O’Donovan has said he could never understand why, when boundary changes were made in 2012, rural areas of Co Limerick were tacked on to the city.
Following the census of 2006, the old Limerick East and Limerick West constituencies were done away with. Part of West Limerick was hived off to North Kerry and two new constituencies, Limerick County and Limerick City were created. This changed again following the 2011 census, when West Limerick returned to Limerick County and Limerick City gained sections of the county.
“The logical thing to do would have been to have a four-seater in the county and a three-seater in the city,” Minister O’Donovan said.
“Places like Cappamore have more in common with other places in the county than with the city,” he argued. “The type of issues confronting people there, whether farming or roads or whatever, are the same in Abbeyfeale as in Cappamore.”
Apart from the upheaval visited on Doon and Cappamore voters, the county constituency remains unchanged and has attracted little complaint. The biggest challenge is for City based candidates who have lost almost 6,000 voters back to Clare.
Deputies Willie O’Dea FF and Jan O’Sullivan Lab have acknowledged they would lose votes with this development. Deputy O’Dea however said he was looking forward to renewing links with his connections in the Newport and Birdhill areas where, he said, a lot of Limerick people were now living.