The political landscape in Ireland is on the cusp of a significant transformation as the country prepares for a new electoral map. One of the most notable changes is the creation of the Fingal West constituency, marking a departure from the traditional Dublin Fingal constituency. This article delves into how Fingal West has evolved and the political implications of this development.
Currently, 5 TDs represent all of the constituency of Dublin Fingal, Alan Farrell (FG) Darragh O'Brien (FF) Joe O'Brien (GP) Louise O'Reilly (SF) Duncan Smith (Lab)
Fingal West: A New Constituency Emerges:
The Commission's recommendations have led to the establishment of the Fingal West constituency, a move that signifies a significant shift in the electoral dynamics of the region. It is part of a broader effort to accommodate Ireland's growing population and ensure a more equitable representation.
One of the most prominent changes, the division of the former 5-seat Dublin Fingal constituency into two separate 3-seat constituencies: Dublin Fingal West and Dublin Fingal East. This move has far-reaching consequences for the political landscape in the region
Dublin Fingal Constituency 2020
The Dublin Fingal constituency has experienced substantial population growth, recording an increase of 18,976 (12.5%) since 2016. This made it the fastest-growing constituency in Dublin by percentage and the one with the largest absolute population growth nationwide. To account for this growth, the Commission had to make significant adjustments.
The Commission recommends changes to the Dublin constituencies, specifically for Dublin Fingal:
Dublin Fingal East:
It is recommended to create a new 3-seat constituency called Dublin Fingal East.
Dublin Fingal West:
Another 3-seat constituency, named Dublin Fingal West, is proposed to replace the existing 5-seat Dublin Fingal constituency.
These recommendations involve a restructuring of the Dublin Fingal constituency into two smaller constituencies, each with three seats. This reconfiguration aims to address changes in population and ensure effective representation in the region.
New 2023 Constituency review
As a result the current Fingal TDs Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, Sinn Fein’s Louise O’Reilly, Green Party Minister Joe O’Brien and Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell and Labours Duncan Smith will have to choose which side of their area they want to run in ahead of the next election. Fine Gael’s Alan Farrell confirmed to the Raven.ie that he will be running in Fingal East with former Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty running in Fingal West. The redraw to a three seater presents a tough challenge for Deputy Farrell to be re-elected but the Dubliner says he has already hit the campaign trail.
TheRaven.ie reached out to existing TDs & known contenders for comment, here's what they said:
Alan Farrell TD
"As I am based in Malahide, I will likely be running in the new Dublin Fingal East Constituency.
Dublin Fingal West is a very large geographic constituency which will require a huge amount of work for the incoming three TD’s. Not only has the dichotomy of rural and urban issues been sustained, the inclusion of Dublin Airport, St Margaret’s and other communities in the South will provide a unique challenge to those who might represent the constituency. The prevailing issues in both constituencies will remain the same however, Housing, Public Transport, Healthcare and ensuring that the challenges of increases in cost of living are met by Government. Other issues such as Education and Childcare will remain, but as you know, great progress has been made right across Dublin Fingal in recent years with the provision of new schools, new classrooms, significantly increased childcare subsidies (which will continue to be increased at next month’s budget) and plans for a third level training facility in Swords which will benefit all communities in the north county."
Sinn Féin's Advantage:
The reshuffling of constituencies has generated much discussion, particularly regarding its potential impact on political parties. Sinn Féin is seen as one of the parties expected to benefit from these changes. The party anticipates gaining a TD in each of the four additional three-seat constituencies resulting from these revisions. The large turnout for Sinn Fein in North Fingal and now the addition of Santry and many areas north of the M50 and around the Airport could mean Louise O'Reilly TD could bring home a running mate at the next election.
Senator Regina Doherty, a Fine Gael Senator who lost her Dáil seat in the Meath East constituency in 2020, has expressed her enthusiasm for the Commission's report. She has announced her intention to run in the upcoming election in the newly created Fingal West constituency.
Joe O'Brien TD My expectation was that Dublin Fingal would be split into two three seaters due to the population rise but what wasn’t clear to me was how it would be done. While formal decisions have to be made by the local members I will be putting myself forward for the new Fingal West constituency. I am glad that the area I will be running in retains all of northern Fingal where I live. So I would still be representing Balbriggan, Skerries, rural Fingal, Rush and Lusk.
Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee The Constituency Review was eagerly awaited by all involved in politics in Fingal as we knew there’d be significant changes given our population growth. I’m happy to see an extra seat being given to the area with two 3 seat constituencies being created instead of the 5 seat constituency we’ve had for the past two General Elections. The new Dublin Fingal West constituency is geographically large and a good mixture of urban and rural areas. Public transport, community infrastructure, housing, education, policing and crime prevention and childcare are top issues right across the new Dublin Fingal West constituency. As well as this, as we have a long coastline, environmental issues, coastal erosion and clean beaches for all to enjoy will be to the fore. Following discussion with some of my supporters, it is my intention to contest the next general election in this new Fingal West constituency. I have been representing this area for over 7 years in the Seanad. I have worked hard and delivered for Fingal in those years. It will be a challenge but I am looking forward to this.
Conclusion: A New Era for Fingal West:
As the Fingal West constituency emerges on the electoral map, it heralds a new era for politics in the region. With its creation, the political landscape in Dublin Fingal undergoes a significant transformation. The division of constituencies, population growth, and party dynamics will all play a role in shaping the future of Fingal West and the broader political landscape in Ireland. The upcoming elections will provide valuable insights into how these changes impact the representation and direction of the region. The new 3 seat constituency of Balbriggan, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, the rural areas along the Meath border all the way down to the northern suburbs of Ballymun. The only guaranteed seat here is for Sinn Fein and a possible one for Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, and the last seat could be contested between the Greens and an Independent. The Ballymun suburbs will certainly help Sinn Fein, so a second seat can't be completely ruled out in a very fractured political landscape.