Green Party welcomes forthcoming report on six-seater constituencies
The Green Party welcomes the Electoral Commission’s commitment to publish a report on six-seater constituencies. The commitment was made in the text of the commission’s latest constituency review today (August 30).
In its submission to the commission, the Green Party made the point that it is vital for the functioning of Irish democracy that constituencies accurately and fairly convert votes into seats so that those sitting in the Dáil accurately reflect modern Ireland.
Studies shows that larger constituencies are more representative than smaller constituencies and better represent the diversity of viewpoints among the electorate. Small constituencies often give an unfair advantage to larger parties out of proportion to the number of votes they receive. They also tend to give a stronger advantage to incumbents, making it hard for new voices to emerge.
Marc Ó Cathasaigh TD, Green Party chief whip said;
“Larger constituencies tend to allow for the breakthrough of more female and minority representation. Smaller constituencies tend to favour incumbents and more established voices. A wide range of voices and viewpoints strengthens democracy."
Larger constituencies would also allow constituencies to respect county boundaries so that traditional voting regions remain intact. There is a historic precedent for constituencies with more than five seats. Historically, the Dáil has previously had constituencies with as many as nine seats.
Eamon Ryan TD, Leader of the Green Party, said;
“We would have preferred if six-seater constituencies had been possible, to avoid some counties being split in two. However, we thank the Commission for all its hard work on the difficult task of setting electoral boundaries and look forward to the next general election, some eighteen months from now.
“At some stage, we may have to review the constitutional requirements on the level of representation per capita, given our rapidly growing population. Our newly established electoral commission should be best placed to advise the Government and the Oireachtas in this regard.”
Pauline O’Reilly, Chairperson of the Green Party, said;
"Given the role of the commission in advising on representation, it could have recommended legislative changes which would make the constituencies more representative. It's disappointing that there is no mention of gender when the size of constituencies has a direct impact on achieving more diversity and better representation of women.
"Overall the Commission increased the number of five seat constituencies but the number of three seat constituencies increased by almost 50%."