City TDs back on the beat in East Limerick

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Deputy Willie O'Dea says he lost around 4,000 votes at the last General Election because of changes to the electoral boundaries
THOSE living in parts of North East Limerick have some of the best political representation in the country.

THOSE living in parts of North East Limerick have some of the best political representation in the country.

As well as their three elected TDs – Niall Collins, Dan Neville and Patrick O’Donovan – they have their former Dail deputies back holding clinics.

There is no sign of an election on the horizon but if a snap one is called Michael Noonan, Willie O’Dea, Kieran O’Donnell and Jan O’Sullivan have been back on the ground.

The old Limerick East constituency was scrapped in the last election with the likes of Caherconlish, Cappamore, Doon, Murroe, Pallasgreen, Kilteely/Dromkeen and Oola going into the Limerick County constituency.

Castleconnell remained in the city.

The constituency commission decision last year recommended that a population of 11,197, 10 of the 19 electoral divisions transferred in the 2009 revision, should be moved back into the Limerick City constituency.

This is less than the 13,731 votes lost in the 2009 revisions but the politicians haven’t left the grass grow under their feet, if it was growing, in the hunt for them.

Deputy Willie O’Dea, who says he lost around 4,000 county votes in the last election due to the boundary change, is back holding clinics for months.

“I am originally from the county myself. It is my real heartland.

“My own family couldn’t vote for me the last time, which was outrageous. I’m not getting it all back but I am getting back a good bit of it,” said the Kilteely man, who recently called for road safety measures for school children in Caherconlish.

Caherconlish is an interesting example of the new reduced area being brought into the city.

The parish / community district has been dissected with Caherconlish east and west in the city and Kilmurry in the county.

There is a boreen at the edge of the village with one side in the city and the other in the county.

Mr O’Dea’s long-time sparring partner in the county area, Michael Noonan, is also delighted that it is back in the fold.

The Minister for Finance says he is available to take queries from constituents.

Jan O’Sullivan says it made sense to bring back parts of East Limerick into the city constituency.

“We are regaining people that we had until relatively recently.

“I have resumed my clinics once a month in Caherconlish and Murroe, I was already in Castleconnell.

“We have always had a strong affinity with those areas and I certainly welcome that they are back with us.

“We will do our best to give them a good service,” says the Labour Minister for State who would like to see a bit more stability.

“It is difficult for people who are living in areas who get moved around from constituency to constituency,” added Ms O’Sullivan.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell is also back on his old stomping ground where he was elected as a councillor and TD.

“I’m back doing clinics in Cappamore, Murroe and Caherconlish once a month. I’m representing the people of the area, working with them on the ground, representing their interests and very much enjoying doing so.

“There was a logical connection between the rural area of East Limerick and Limerick city in terms of geography.

“Those areas within the old Limerick east were there as long as I can remember,” said Deputy O’Donnell.

While the former deputies are back representing their old constituents, it remains to be seen if prospective candidates will join them.