Poll boundaries to change before next elections

Poll boundaries to change before next elections

New changes will be made to local authority boundaries in time for next summer’s local elections.

Independent experts have recommended fewer electoral areas and a reduction in the number of three-seat wards.

But the experts did not call for a change in the number of councillors who will be seeking re-election in 2009.

The review called for the number of local electoral areas across the country to be reduced by six to 140.

It also recommends that the number of three-seat wards drop from 24 to three and the number of four-seaters increase from 34 to 50.

A total of 32 local authority councillors sent submissions to the two independent committees who compiled the report.

Environment Minister John Gormley appointed the experts to examine existing local electoral areas in light of population increases and changes in Dáil boundaries.

The recommendations in the 218-page report were approved by the Government at today’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

Mr Gormley said: “I have accepted the recommendations and I will be making the necessary orders to give effect to them as soon as possible.

“The local electoral areas established by these orders will apply at the 2009 local elections.”

There has been an average increase of 21% in population across the 26 county council areas since the last review of boundaries was carried out in 1998.

Population increases ranged from 48% in Co Meath to 9% in Co Sligo. Eleven counties had a population growth in excess of 20%.

Recent changes in the boundaries of Dáil constituencies were also taken into account.

The two independent committees that carried out the work received a total of 153 submissions from local authorities, political parties, public representatives, organisations and individuals.

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