With just five days left for the people of Cavan to be part of a submission to request that the county be reunited as one constituency, a number of local representatives have affirmed their support for the call. In the yearly review local representatives all pointed to the fact that time to sign up to have your voice heard is running out.
One vocal opponent of the current constituency make up said: “It is slicing bits off two counties and lumping them in with two other counties. It is an exercise in making numbers fit and not about securing appropriate representation. It undermines democracy and is a curiously pointless gerrymander that suits no one but a civil servant tasked with balancing a population budget.”
One politician who did not wish to be named said that it was up to the people to make the change as “any submissions from a politician will be disregarded as they will be seen to be a vested interest”. At present Cavan is represented by two sets of political representatives. In the yearly review (see pages 16-17 of this week's paper) the issue of the constituency boundary repeatedly cropped up.
Fianna Fáil Deputy Brendan Smith said that the current make up is ridiculous: “It is absolutely ludicrous that a substantial part of Cavan is in a constituency with parts of Donegal and all of Sligo and Leitrim. We need to get our county reunited. Our county should be one unit for Dáil Éireann electorate purposes.”
The constituency revision will be completed by the middle this year, with the constituency commission reporting by the middle of the summer 2017. Deputy Smith says that if the commission are swayed by public opinion the next election could see the county reunited: “There is no reason why the proposals put forward can’t be adopted by the government. The relevant legislation will then be enacted by the Oireachtas.”
Fine Gael’s Tony McLoughlin said that he was also in favour of the campaign: “I fully support the 'Reunite Cavan’ campaign and as I am the only Government Party TD in the Sligo - Leitrim Constituency, I have already met with Minister Coveney TD to advise him of my position on this issue.”
Ultimately it is about the will of the people of Cavan. If the commission feel that there is no objection to maintaining the status quo then the likelihood is that Cavan will be split between two constituencies for the foreseeable future.
To add your voice to the petition, log on to www.anglocelt.ie/reunitecavan or sign the slip on pages 17 or 55 of this week's paper and get it into us by Friday, January 6.