Independent TDs have most to worry about

Changes to the Waterford constituency will be of concern to TDs in Tipperary and Waterford City, writes Conor Kane

The recent constituency arrangement along the Tipperary/Waterford border which saw a small chunk of voters who live in Co Waterford voting in the Tipperary South constituency is to finish.

Under the Constituency Commission’s recommendations, this will spell the end of the “breach” of the Waterford border and bring two complete electoral districts — and parts of two others — into Waterford.

The section of Waterford which was until now part of south Tipperary for Dáil purposes has 1,597 people in an area to the north-west of the county and south/south-west of Clonmel.

The electoral districts affected are those of Kilmacomma, Kilronan, Gurteen, and St Mary’s, an area dominated by the Comeragh mountains.

The transfer of this part of the Tipperary South constituency is likely to be viewed with some worry by Independent TD Mattie McGrath.

The former Fianna Fáil politician’s heartland is in the south-west of Tipperary and he is based in Newcastle, about 16km south-west of Clonmel.

Indeed, he had taken in recent times to referring to the constituency as Tipperary South/West Waterford in appreciation of the votes he received from south of the River Suir. The loss of an area where he enjoyed support, added to the amalgamation of the former Tipperary South and North constituencies into one five-seater, means he is one who will look on the commission’s work with least pleasure.

Meanwhile, in Waterford, the freshly minted section of constituency may not be much use to Waterford City-based Independent TD John Halligan.

It can, however, be regarded as fresh meat to Dungarvan TDs John Deasy (FG) and Ciara Conway (Labour), the latter of whom worked for some time as a social worker in nearby Clonmel, and also to Paudie Coffey (FG) in his Portlaw base, not far east.

The Waterford constituency will still be slightly under the national average population per TD at 28,449 compared to the average of 29,040.

map

More in this section