Cork and Dublin are set to be the big winners as the next Dáil will have at least another 11 TDs, and at most another 21, on foot of an increase in the population, Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien has said.
As the Irish Examiner reports, speaking to a private Fianna Fáil meeting, Mr O’Brien has said the next Dáil will, on foot of this year’s Census, have between 171 and 181 TDs, up from the current number of 160.
Under the terms of the Constitution, there must be a TD for every 20,000-30,000 people, and preliminary Census 2022 data shows an increase of 361,671 people to 5.1m, which would mean an increase of around 15 TDs in the Dáil.
Senior Government officials have said the total is always an even number, so the most likely final figure could be between 174 and 178.
The increase in population is most prominent in the east of the country, therefore parts of Dublin and the commuter counties of Kildare, Meath, and Wicklow are also likely to gain seats.
The preliminary Census 2022 shows that the constituency with the highest number of people for each TD is Dublin Fingal, a five-seater constituency, with 34,138 people per representative in the Dáil, which could become a six-seater in order to fulfil the constitutional requirement and adequately serve constituents.
This could spell good news for Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty, who is tipped to be standing in her colleague Alan Farrell’s constituency next time around.
However, the pair will have a fight on their hands going up against Sinn Féin frontbencher and spokeswoman on enterprise Louise O’Reilly.
The next most under-represented constituencies are Dublin-Rathdown in South Dublin — a three-seater with 33,718 people per TD — which is likely to move to four seats, and Kildare North — a four-seater with 33,589 people per TD — which could become a five-seater.
Dún Laoghaire is also likely to gain another seat, as is Longford-Westmeath.
In Cork, if the Constitution was to be strictly adhered to, four of the five constituencies — Cork North Central, Cork South Central, Cork East, and Cork North West — would stand to gain an extra seat.