Thursday, July 06, 2017

ALMOST 10,000 people from Laois may be included in Kildare in the next general election, as the county is to be rejoined with Offaly to bring it back to a five-seat constituency.

Last week, the Dáil Constituency Commission made a number of recommendations and proposed changes to boundaries in several constituencies around the country.

It proposed that Laois and Offaly should once again become a standalone constituency, as it was three years ago, before Laois was separated from Offaly. At that time, the new three-seat Laois constituency included six townlands from Kildare.

This time around, the commission is recommending that those six townlands – Monasterevin, Ballybrackan, Harristown, Kilberry, Churchtown and Kildangan, with a total population of 7,892 – return to Kildare. The commission also recommended that parts of Laois, which include the townlands of Portarlington, Killenard, Ballybrittas, Kilmullen and Jamestown be included in the newly-drawn South Kildare constituency.

Under the reshuffle, an estimated 9,450 voters from the Laois part of Portarlington and the five surrounding townlands could now be voting in the new Kildare South constituency as well as 3,762 from the Offaly side of Portarlington.

In making its recommendation, the commission said that the 2016 census showed there was a combined total of 150,804 people in Laois and Offaly, meaning that there are 30,161 people for each of the five TDs, which is in line with representational figures.

The commission makes its recommendations based on the population per member, which does not exceed 30,000, and in those, the excess is less than 500.

The recommendations will now go before the Dáil for approval or rejection.

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By Joe Barrett
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