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Public asked to give views on which part of the country should get another MEP seat

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION has opened public submissions on the redrawing of European electoral boundaries and the allocation of a new MEP seat.

It comes as the European Union approved plans to introduce 15 new seats to its parliamentary chamber yesterday.

Ireland is due to receive one additional seat for the next European election in June 2024, bringing its total to 14.

A recent review on the state’s constituencies made no changes to the current Irish set up, awaiting the result of the vote that was held this month.

The Electoral Commission said last month that it expects a formal decision to change the seat allocation for Ireland from the European institutions “imminently”.

Currently, Ireland has three European electoral constituencies; Dublin, South and Midlands-North-West.

With the increase in seats, it requires the Commission to conduct a review of constituencies in line with considerations set out under the Electoral Reform Act 2022.
The commission is now inviting the public to submit recommendations, during a short public consultation.

The consultation will be open until 29 October and a report from the experts is due before the Oireachtas by 27 November.

So far, the Green Party is the only party to have announced their candidates ahead of the election.

The Greens tapped sitting MEPs Ciaran Cuffe and Grace O’Sullivan, as well as current member of Seanad Pauline O’Reilly to contest in June.

This change will increase the total number of seats in the parliament from 705 to 720, with twelve member states being given new seats.

Spain, France and the Netherlands will all be given two additional seats in the next election.

Nine member states – Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Austria, Poland, Finland, Slovenia and Slovakia – will all be given one.

The decision to introduce more seats was based off a recommendation, suggested in a report in June, to add more seats to its membership with 515 votes in favour, 74 against, and 44 abstentions.

The upcoming elections, to be held during 6 to 9 in June next year, will take place with the new number of seats in Parliament.

Under the current structure, Dublin and Midlands-North-West have four seats each and the South constituency has five.

Two MEPs submitted to the previous constituency review earlier this year: Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews and Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly.

Andrews proposed replacing the Dublin constituency with a new North East Leinster constituency that would include Kildare, Meath and Louth together with the capital, while Kelly’s submission was concerned with keeping Clare as part of the South constituency.

Additional reporting by Lauren Boland