On Tuesday, November 27, the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Bill 2012 took second stage in the Dáil. The Bill will see the restoration of Co Leitrim into a single constituency for electoral purposes for the first time since 2002.
Speaking in Dail the Fine Gael Deputy for Sligo/North Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin said “I want to take the opportunity to warmly welcome the proposal by this bill to re-unite Co Leitrim politically into the new Sligo/Leitrim Constituency comprising of all of Counties Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and part of South Donegal.
“Since the election of 2007 Leitrim was divided not once but twice quiet cruelly to a County of just 30,000 people. This decision deprived the County of a full range of candidates as parties sought strategically to minimise their candidate strategy to ensure a particular result.
“I found as I am sure other candidates did that many people in the County grew apathetic to politics and elections and over the course of two elections the people of Drumshanbo Co Leitrim voted within the Roscommon part of the constituency in 2007 and in 2011 found themselves aligned to the Sligo part of the Constituency. This was unfair and in my view anti-democratic.”
The Sligo/North Leitrim TD went on to say that the decision to re-unify the county has been a “good day for the people of Leitrim”.
However he acknowledged that the people of West Cavan are disappointed that they now see themselves separated from the rest of Co Cavan and he had concerns over the sheer size of the new constituency noting the distance from Bundoran to Rooskey and from Ballina to Ballyconnell is 90km and 127km, respectively.