Fine Gael’s Colm Markey has criticised the decision of the Electoral Commission not to include the proposed extra MEP seat for Ireland in an upcoming review of constituency boundaries.
The Department of Local Government has confirmed that the report, due out on Wednesday, will be based on the existing 13-seat allocation, rather than the proposed new allocation of 14 seats.
Markey, who represents the EU Midlands-North-West constituency, said the Commission should have considered all options.
He commented, “The Electoral Commission was well aware of proposals to increase the number of seats in the European Parliament and we finally had a decision from the European Council in July which gives Ireland one extra MEP.
Because the measure is not legally in effect, the Commission has decided to ignore the proposal and will need to prepare a revised report once the decision is ratified by the Parliament. It is ridiculous to think that the Commission cannot even consider the measure, subject to the changes being officially approved.
Given the EU election is just 9 months away, this issue should have been made a priority.”
“It’s important to point out that the delay is ratifying the proposal is down to the European Council and not the Parliament. We saw countries bickering for months about the best way to proceed before a final decision was reached last month.
We now know that the European Parliament will increase in size from the current 705 seats to 720 but Irish MEPs still don’t know where the extra seat for Ireland will go and whether there will be changes to the EU constituencies as a result.
It’s simply not good enough and I would urge the Electoral Commission to issue a recommendation sooner rather than later”, Markey concluded.