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Monday, November 28, 2011 12:00
Residents urged to act on boundary proposal

AN end could be in sight to the bizarre situation whereby Swords is split into two different electoral constituencies – Dublin North and Dublin West.

The split, which was introduced in 2007, was hugely contentious and confusing for many, not least the 13,000 Swords residents who suddenly found themselves in the same constituency as Blanchardstown and Castleknock residents.

However, the town could be reunited before locals take to the polls again.

This follows a motion that was recently passed by members of Fingal County Council calling on the Constituency Commission to redraw the boundary line.

However, residents can also have their say on the matter as submissions can be sent to the Constituency Commission before January 10, 2012.

Swords ward councillor Cllr Darragh Butler (FF), who was directly affected by the redrawing of the boundary, put forward the motion “in the interest of democracy and fair political representation”.

Cllr Butler is calling on those affected by the boundary change to voice their opposition to the current arrangement.

“Between the 2011 General Election and recent Dublin West by-election, we will have had 15 different nominated candidates, none of whom were from Swords,” he told Northside People.

“Swords voters feel totally disenfranchised within the Dublin West constituency and have nothing in common or any real geographical connection with Castleknock or Blanchardstown with mainly empty fields and motorways between them.

“The time for complaining is over and now is the time for action. 

“If voters want to be back in the Dublin North constituency it’s vital we bombard the Constituency Commission with submissions by the January 10 deadline.”

Cllr Butler added: “This was the number one issue encountered by all political parties when canvassing in the recent Dublin West by-election and now is the time to have our voices heard. 

“I am also a Dublin West voter who wants to be back in Dublin North.”

A spokeswoman for Fingal County Council confirmed that it had made the Constituency Commission aware of the council members’ request for the unpopular boundary line to be redrawn.

“I can confirm that following the passing of the motion at the council meeting on November 14 we wrote to the Constituency Commission on November 15 and three days later we received a reply acknowledging receipt of same,” she told Northside People.

“There has been nothing further since that date.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment explained how boundary changes are nearly always made before the next elections take place.

“A Constituency Commission was established by the Minister following the publication of the preliminary results from the Census earlier this year,” he stated.

“The Commission has advertised seeking submissions. The website www.constituency-commission.ie has details of the Commission’s work. The closing date for receipt of submissions is January 10, 2012.

“The Commission is required to report no later than three months after the publication of the final census figures.”

Three current serving Ministers – Joan Burton (Social Protection), Leo Varadkar (Transport) and James Reilly (Health) - were among those opposed to the boundary change when it was introduced.

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