Dáil constituencies

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There are currently 40 multi-member constituencies, that democratically elect 158 TDs (members of parliament), to Dáil Éireann (Ireland's lower house), usually every five years.


Article 16.2 of the Constitution of Ireland sets out how these electoral districts should be created by law using population figures recorded in the census of Ireland. Census reports are published every four years and are produced by the Central Statistics Office in Ireland, the Constitution stipulates that there will be no more than one TD representing twenty thousand and no less than one TD representing thirty thousand of the population, and from that constituencies should be amended by law to maintain these proportions and prohibit malapportionment.

In order to avoid allegations of gerrymandering and to preserve the democratic integrity of the Dáil, the Constituency Commission was set up with the enactment of the Electoral Act 1997,[1] the commission is independent and is responsible for the redrawing of constituency boundaries.[2] Members of the five person commission must be a Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court as the Chairman, the Clerk of the Dáil, the Clerk of the Seanad, the Ombudsman, and the Secretary General of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The constitution directs members of the Oireachtas (Irish legislature) which include, President of Ireland, Dáil Éireann (Ireland's lower house) and Seanad Éireann (Ireland's upper house) to revise the constituencies at least every twelve years and in the event of any constituency changes required, then this should not occur during the life of the sitting Dáil.

Proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote is the electoral system specified to be applied in all general elections to Dáil Éireann. While this system differs from by-elections for Dáil Éireann and Irish presidential elections, which apply alternative vote, it is similarly applied in European Parliament elections, the constitution specifies that the minimum number of TDs returned for each constituency can be no less than three, however it does not define the maximum number. To circumvent this anomaly, the Electoral Act 1997 was enacted, where Section 6 of the statute places a maximum size of five members on constituencies,[3] this means that the number of TDs elected from each constituency during a general election in Ireland may differ from three, four and five depending on the population in that district. The most recent changes to the constituency boundaries came about following the release of the population figures in the 2011 census.[4][5][6] This resulted in the Constituency Commission proposing changes in 2012 to the constituency map of Ireland so as to reduce the total number of TDs from 166 to 158, and the constituencies from 43 to 40,[7] the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013 provided for this change and for changes to constituencies.[8] The 2016 general election was the first time these changes in the constituencies of Ireland came into effect.

Next general election[edit]

The next general election is due by 12 April 2021 at the latest, but may take place before then, the 2017 report of the Constituency Commission,[9] proposed several changes to Dáil constituencies. The number of constituencies were reduced by one to 39, as well as minor boundary revisions, it also increased the number of seats in the Dáil by two to 160. These changes were provided for by the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2017, and will come into effect at the next general election.

2016 general election[edit]

For the 2016 general election, 158 TDs were elected from 40 constituencies; in June 2012 the Constituency Commission proposed changes to the constituency map of Ireland so as to reduce the total number of TDs from 166 to 158 and the constituencies from 43 to 40.[10] The Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013 provided for this change and for changes to constituencies.

The 40 constituencies of Ireland (2016–present)
Constituency Population [11] Seats
Carlow–Kilkenny 145,659 5
Cavan–Monaghan 120,483 4
Clare 111,336 4
Cork East 114,365 4
Cork North-Central 117,170 4
Cork North-West 86,593 3
Cork South-Central 117,952 4
Cork South-West 82,952 3
Donegal 152,358 5
Dublin Bay North 146,512 5
Dublin Bay South 116,396 4
Dublin Central 89,030 3
Dublin Fingal 141,162 5
Dublin Mid-West 110,427 4
Dublin North-West 90,534 3
Dublin Rathdown 87,470 3
Dublin South-Central 114,660 4
Dublin South-West 144,908 5
Dublin West 113,179 4
Dún Laoghaire 118,791 4
Galway East 89,564 3
Galway West 150,874 5
Kerry 145,502 5
Kildare North 115,350 4
Kildare South 115,350 3
Laois 87,745 3
Limerick City 113,835 4
Limerick County 83,834 3
Longford–Westmeath 116,802 4
Louth 143,272 5
Mayo 120,332 4
Meath East 86,572 3
Meath West 85,550 3
Offaly 87,640 3
Roscommon–Galway 84,586 3
Sligo–Leitrim 119,153 4
Tipperary 147,801 5
Waterford 113,795 4
Wexford 145,320 5
Wicklow 141,012 5

Historic changes[edit]

2011 general election[edit]

The 2007 report of the Constituency Commission,[12] an independent body established by the Government of Ireland to review constituency boundaries, proposed several changes to Dáil constituencies. These changes were provided for by the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009; in July 2011 the Irish government established a commission to review to the current Dáil and European constituencies.[13]

This table summarises the changes in representation, it does not address revisions to the boundaries of constituencies.

Constituency Created  Seats Change
Dublin West 1981 4 plus 1 seat
Dún Laoghaire 1977 4 minus 1 seat
Kerry North 1937 3 abolished
Kerry North–West Limerick 2011 3 new constituency
Limerick 2011 3 new constituency
Limerick City 2011 4 new constituency
Limerick East 1948 5 abolished
Limerick West 1948 3 abolished
Louth 1923 5 plus 1 seat

There were further boundary changes to 18 constituencies, these were: Cork East, Cork North-Central, Cork North-West, Donegal North-East, Donegal South-West, Dublin North, Dublin North-Central, Dublin North-East, Dublin South, Kerry South, Kildare North, Kildare South, Laois–Offaly, Meath East, Meath West, Roscommon–South Leitrim, Sligo–North Leitrim and Tipperary North.

2011 constituencies[edit]

Dáil Éireann constituencies for the 2011 general election.

For the 2011 general election, 166 TDs were elected from the following 43 constituencies:

Constituency Seats
Carlow–Kilkenny 5
Cavan–Monaghan 5
Clare 4
Cork East 4
Cork North-Central 4
Cork North-West 3
Cork South-Central 5
Cork South-West 3
Donegal North-East 3
Donegal South-West 3
Dublin Central 4
Dublin Mid-West 4
Dublin North 4
Dublin North-Central 3
Dublin North-East 3
Dublin North-West 3
Dublin South 5
Dublin South-Central 5
Dublin South-East 4
Dublin South-West 4
Dublin West 4
Dún Laoghaire 4
Galway East 4
Galway West 5
Kerry North–West Limerick 3
Kerry South 3
Kildare North 4
Kildare South 3
Laois–Offaly 5
Limerick 3
Limerick City 4
Longford–Westmeath 4
Louth 5
Mayo 5
Meath East 3
Meath West 3
Roscommon–South Leitrim 3
Sligo–North Leitrim 3
Tipperary North 3
Tipperary South 3
Waterford 4
Wexford 5
Wicklow 5

2007 general election[edit]

Dáil Éireann constituencies for the 2007 general election.

In 2004 the report of the Constituency Commission,[14] proposed major changes to Dáil constituencies. Five new constituencies were created under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2005:

These replaced the four existing constituencies of Longford–Roscommon, Meath, Sligo–Leitrim and Westmeath. These new changes resulted in the creation of a 43rd constituency and the removal of the provincial boundary breach between Leinster and Connacht.

The number of seats was reduced in two constituencies:

Two three-seater constituencies gained an extra seat:

There were further smaller boundary changes to eleven constituencies outside Dublin, these were: Clare, Cork North-West, Cork South-Central, Cork South-West, Donegal North-East, Donegal South-West, Kerry North, Kerry South, Kildare South, Limerick East and Limerick West.

Boundaries for ten of the twelve Dublin constituencies were also revised apart from Dublin South-East and Dún Laoghaire.

2002 general election[edit]

1997 general election[edit]

1992 general election[edit]


  1. ^ "Electoral Act 1997". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Consultation Paper on the Establishment of an Electoral Commission in Ireland, (2015), Department of Environment, Community, and Local Government, http://www.environ.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/LocalGovernment/Voting/FileDownLoad%2C40119%2Cen.pdf
  3. ^ Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2001, Office of the Attorney General, http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2001/act/38/enacted/en/print
  4. ^ This is Ireland: Highlights of the Census 2011, Part 1, (2012) Central Statistics Office, Dublin, Government Publications, http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/census/documents/census2011pdr/Census,2011,Highlights,Part,1,web,72dpi.pdf
  5. ^ This is Ireland; Highlights from Census 2011 Part 2, (2012) Central Statistics Office, Dublin, Government Publications http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/census/documents/thisisirelandpart2census2011/This,is,Ireland,Highlights,,P2,Full,doc.pdf
  6. ^ Census 2011 Reports, Central Statistics Office, Retrieved 3 March 2016 http://www.cso.ie/en/census/census2011reports/
  7. ^ Constituency Committee Report, (2012), Retrieved 3 March 2016 http://www.constituency-commission.ie/docs/Constit-Rep-2012-Chap-1.pdf
  8. ^ Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013, Office of the Attorney General, http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2013/act/7/schedule/enacted/en/html#sched
  9. ^ "Constituency Commission Report 2017" (PDF). Constituency Commission. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  10. ^ "Summary of recommendation" (PDF). Constituency Commission. 21 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Collins, S, (2016), Election 2016; Constituency Profiles and Predictions, The Irish Times, Retrieved from http://www.irishtimes.com/election-2016/constituencies
  12. ^ "Report on Dáil and European Parliament Constituencies 2007" (PDF). Constituency Commission. 23 October 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2008. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Report on Dáil Constituencies, 2004" (PDF). Constituency Commission. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2011. 

External links[edit]