Politicians react to Mayo constituency changes

Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon welcomes the return of Cong, Cross, The Neale, Kilmaine, Glencorrib, and Shrule, representing a population of 5,962, to the Mayo constituency.

Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon welcomes the return of Cong, Cross, The Neale, Kilmaine, Glencorrib, and Shrule, representing a population of 5,962, to the Mayo constituency.

Following the announcement this week that the Electoral Commission recommends the Mayo constituency be changed from a four-seater to a five-seater and that south mayo areas added to the Galway west Dáil constituency be returned to the Mayo Dáil constituency - reaction was swift from some political quarters around Mayo.

Cllr Michael Burke

Ballinrobe based Fine Gael Councillor Michael Burke has warmly welcomed the Electoral Commission's report which proposes to return the areas of South Mayo previously part of the Galway West constituency since 2016 back to Mayo.

Following the publication of the Commission's review, Cllr Burke said: “All these areas are part of the old Rural Ballinrobe Electoral division so I am delighted that they will be back in the Mayo constituency where they always should have been. The areas include Cong, Dalgan, Houndswood, Kilmaine, The Neale and Shrule, which are just a few minutes out the road from Ballinrobe but were being represented by Dáil deputies elected in Galway.”

He added: “It is great for the whole county that we are getting an extra seat and I will be delighted to be able to work with the Mayo TDs from my party in providing the best representation for South Mayo.”

"If somebody wants to run for the Dáil, I think they should go and run for the Dáil and not be playing a game running for the County Council just to get their name out in front of the public."

Asked on local radio would he be a candidate for the Dáil in the next election Cllr Burke said he’d never rule anything in or out but added that he has a local election next year and that’s the only election on his mind.

He said: “I was elected as a local representative for the people of Ballinrobe and South Mayo and being a local representative is what I’m focused on. I can say that I have not given any thought at all to a role in national politics as I’ve always felt Mayo has been represented very well on the national stage with the TDs we have from my party. I also believe that if somebody wants to run for the Dáil, I think they should go and run for the Dáil and not be playing a game running for the County Council just to get their name out in front of the public. I don’t think anybody would make a very good County Councillor if they spend half their days day dreaming of being a TD.”

Alan Dillon TD

Describing the county boundary reinstatement as 'a notable victory for Mayo residents', Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon stated: "This decision rectifies a deviation made in 2013 for over 5,000 Mayo residents who were temporarily repositioned to the Galway West constituency. I am extremely pleased to see the return of Cong, Cross, The Neale, Kilmaine, Glencorrib, and Shrule, representing a population of 5,962, to Mayo. The inclusion of the region in the Galway West constituency since 2013, inadvertently undermined South Mayo's heritage and rich contributions to our great county of Mayo."

He added: "Due to the fact that Mayo had a six percent population increase of 7,069 to 132,044 since 2016, I am delighted that the number of Dáil seats in Mayo has risen to five. This recommendation reverts back to the arrangement between 1995 and 2013 which will ensure that the rights of the people of South Mayo are respected, and their voices are properly heard.”

The Mayo TD also said he is eagerly looking forward to 'working with the people of South Mayo as they return to the constituency', saying: "There are a number of important issues such as advancing plans for the Cong R345 relief road, upgrading of the R332 Kilmaine to Foxhall Road from the Tuam by-pass as well as N84 Ballinrobe by-pass. I also look forward to working with all the local community organisations, sporting clubs, voluntary groups, and farmers in the region. This is a great day for Mayo which now sees our constituency returned to what is should have been over the past decade.”

Michael Ring TD

Fine Gael TD Michael Ring also welcomed the recommendation of the Electoral Commission for Mayo, stating: "I welcome the announcement that the Mayo Constituency will now be a 5 seat constituency and also the most important fact that the south Mayo area, which had been moved to the Galway West constituency for the last number of elections, has been returned to the Mayo Constituency. I am delighted to see Mayo back as one Constituency.

"When south Mayo was in the Galway West constituency, the people in The Neale, Cong, Houndswood, Shrule, Dalgan and Kilmaine felt very disenfranchised. It should never have happened in the first place.

"I made a submission to the Electoral Commission when it was open to do, earlier this year, where I had stated it did not make sense for that part of Mayo to be in Galway West. I am pleased to see that it has now officially come back into the Mayo Constituency and that all of the county is now within the one constituency for electoral purposes."

Paul Lawless - Aontú

The Aontú representative for Mayo, Paul Lawless stated, “I am delighted to see Mayo back as one constituency. The people of Cong, Cross, Glencorrib, Kilmaine, Shrule and The Neale are proud Mayo people and deserve to be represented in the Mayo constituency.

“The reintroduction of south Mayo provides a wonderful opportunity for east and south Mayo to elect the first TD since the late John Carty won a seat in 2002. I firmly believe the lack of representation on the national stage has coincided with neglect for east and south Mayo. For example, in 2011 the current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wiped the west and north west off the trans-European transport (TEN-T ) network, a multi-billion euro programme of European investment in road and rail, airports and ports. This would have provided motorway funding from Tuam to Sligo as well as investment for the Claremorris to Athenry rail line and Knock Airport. More recently, the current transport Minister Eamon Ryan (in his recent visit to Mayo ) effectively suspended plans for the proposed Knock to Collooney N17 project.”

Knock airport is under-utilised by successive governments.

“Knock airport is a jewel in Mayo; it has so much potential but is under-utilised by successive governments. The airport remains largely disconnected from its two largest cities Galway and Sligo, it desperately needs better connectivity. We should also develop a strategic development zone around the airport which would bring investment, jobs and boost the entire region”.

Mr. Lawless continued: “Legally speaking in Ireland there must be one TD for every 20,000-30,000 people. A population of much less than this was cast aside to another county, meaning they didn't have the numbers to elect a TD to represent them. We need to ensure we have our own TD living in and near the east and south of the county. If given that privilege I will fight for everybody in the area and not stand idly by against any attempts to cast people aside again.

“The reintroduction of south mayo provides an opportunity for greater Dáil representation for east and south Mayo to lend their voices and votes for investment and infrastructure,” concluded Lawless .

 

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