Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Major changes in Limerick City layout for forthcoming local elections

The report from the Electoral Area commission is in (and online). They're still using the incorrect census data from the night of the previous ERC trip to Cardiff so I'm taking these figures with a pinch of salt. Limerick city has grow by a mere 500 people or 0.96% to approximately 52,539. They're stating population decreases in Wards 1 and 3 (yeah and who's living in all those new houses ....) and growth in Wards 2 and 4. They've also had to factor in the addition of Moyross to the city.

Net result - Ward 1 gets an extra seat due to Moyross. Wards 3 and 4 are merged and loose a seat to become a seven seater. No change in Ward 2. They also decided to rename the new arrangement.
Ward 1 - Limerick City North
Ward 2 - Limerick City East
Wards 3 & 4 - Limerick City South

If this isn't gerrymandering, I don't know what is. Its clear that the Greens have gotten their say to increase the sizes of wards which will favour the smaller parties. In Limerick's case, the rearrangement also suits Fianna Fail due to collapse of the party in the last local elections as the new boundaries guarantee them some hope of recovery. I really hope this turns into a serious case of Tullymandering for the government.

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  • Are you saying there was political interference in the work of the committees? Because I can assure you there wasn't.

    The terms of reference for the committees asked them to eliminate 3-seaters where possible as 3-seaters lead to less proportional results. It's not a case of larger wards favouring small parties so much as smaller wards favouring large parties.

    By Blogger ryano, at 8:08 p.m.  

  • Ryano - I'm sorry if you don't think there was any political interference because you contradict yourself in your next paragraph when you talk about terms of reference.

    If I'm the government I set the term's of reference so its not overt political interference I'll grant you. In that situation if I say (pretending here that I'm the government for argument sake) that brown is to be favoured over pink. The report will say most wards should be brown.

    I'd say that perhaps small wards favour active candidates as parties are a dead ideal with 80% of the electorate voting on candidate rather than a party basis. My argument for smaller wards is that they maintain a better link to the socio-economic image of an area. They give a more truthful linkage between a councillor, the people of the area, and the ethos of an area. Larger wards dilute this, making candidates even more of all things to all people. In fact I'd go so far as to say that they further increase the separation of respect between politicians and the electorate.

    By Blogger Eoin Brazil, at 10:40 p.m.  

  • Either Sinn Fein, or republican Sinn Fein or a left wing independent is more likely to get the extra seat on the northside in my opinion.

    I can't see how this would be beneficial to Fianna Fail.

    By Blogger squid, at 12:22 a.m.  

  • squid - for the northside I'd agree, for the new city south, it'll mend a basket case left due to the way the FF organisation has been run. Cowen has been pushing Willie to sort the shop out here. Given Willie's stronger friendship with Cowen rather than his somewhat arctic relationship with Ahern, I imagine Willie might actually try to sort out the local organisation.

    Its still early days yet, there are many more candidates to come out of the woodwork so there could be someone lined up for the northside that we just haven't heard about yet.

    By Blogger Eoin Brazil, at 1:50 a.m.  

  • Well, if you're only complaining about the terms of reference then fair enough - the committees were asked to avoid 3-seaters where possible, so if you have a preference for 3-seaters then obviously you're not going to be happy with that.

    However this is not the same as interfering in how the boundaries are drawn, which is what I took from your accusation of gerrymandering.

    If you read that Wikipedia article on Tullymandering you'll see that a key part of what Tully tried to do was to use 3-seaters where it suited him and 4-seaters elsewhere.

    By Blogger ryano, at 11:55 p.m.  

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