Laois may be a three-seater

THE Laois-Offaly constituency may be broken up into two three-seaters, if the reported proposed recommendations of the forthcoming Constituency Commission report are carried through.

THE Laois-Offaly constituency may be broken up into two three-seaters, if the reported proposed recommendations of the forthcoming Constituency Commission report are carried through.

It was reported last week that the Commission report, due to be published next month, recommends that Laois-Offaly gains a seat, thereby breaking up the present and long standing five seat arrangement, into two three-seaters. The census showd that the existing Laois-Offaly constituency has the highest ratio of population to Dail deputy at 30,565.

The Commission, which was tasked with redrawing constituency boundaries, is also understood to have recommended an eight seat reduction of Dail seats, from the current 166 to 158. Under this revision, a number of constituencies will lose a seat.

Reacting, Senator John Whelan noted that any information concerning constituency changes at present was purely speculative. “However, it is certain that Laois-Offaly will not be left intact as it is, because of the population boom it has witnessed in recent years. Most people would probably welcome it being divided along county lines into two new three-seaters from its current five-seats.”

Deputy Charles Flanagan declined to comment, and said he was waiting for the report to be published.

Deputy Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy said that regardless of what happens, south Offaly needed to be brought back into the constituency. Deputy Barry Cowen, meanwhile, dismissed as ‘rumours’ the reported findings of the Constituency Commission.

Deputies Sean Fleming and Brian Stanley did not comment.