LAOIS will lose over half of its county councillors in Minister Phil Hogan’s reform of the local electoral area boundaries.The recently published Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee Report recommends reducing the number of local electoral areas from five to three, with the number of councillors set to be reduced from 42 down to 19. Based on the new number of councillors, the population per member in Laois will be 4,240.
Under the revised boundaries, the new Portlaoise electoral area will stretch from the outskirts of Mountmellick all the way down to the Kilkenny border.
There are also bigger changes in both the east and western areas of the council, with the merging of the old Emo electoral area with Luggacurren, and Borris-in-Ossory with Mountmellick.
Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley said the reduction in councillors was a blow for democracy.
“Cutting the number of councillors in Laois from 43 to 19 is bad for democracy. The fact is Ireland has one of the lowest numbers of councillors per head of population in Europe.
To further reduce their number only undermines councillors’ ability to do the job they are elected to do and will make them less accessible to the public, ” he said.