Dáil constituencies

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There are currently 40 multi-member constituencies, that elect 158 TDs (members of parliament), to Dáil Éireann, Ireland's house of representatives, by means of the single transferable vote, to a maximum term of five years.

Electoral law[edit]

Article 16.2 of the Constitution of Ireland outlines how these electoral districts are to 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 established b 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, Court of Appeal or High Court as Chair, 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 representative house) and Seanad Éireann (Ireland's senate) 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] These changes came into effect at the 2016 general election.

Current constituencies[edit]

For the 2016 general election, 158 TDs were elected from 40 constituencies. In June 2012 the Constituency Commission proposed changes to the constituencies to reduce the total number of TDs from 166 to 158 and the constituencies from 43 to 40.[9] 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[10] 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

Constituencies at the 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,[11] 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.

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

Change in seats[edit]

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

Constituency Seats 2016 Seats 2021
Cavan–Monaghan 4 5
Dublin Central 3 4
Kildare South 3 4

Constituencies abolished[edit]

Constituency Seats Area now in
Laois 3 Laois–Offaly and Tipperary
Offaly 3 Laois–Offaly and Kildare South

New constituencies[edit]

Constituency Seats Area from
Laois–Offaly 5 Laois and Offaly


  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, https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/LocalGovernment/Voting/FileDownLoad,40119,en.pdf
  3. ^ Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001, Office of the Attorney General
  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. ^ "Summary of recommendation" (PDF). Constituency Commission. 21 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Collins, S, (2016), Election 2016; Constituency Profiles and Predictions, The Irish Times, Retrieved from http://www.irishtimes.com/election-2016/constituencies
  11. ^ "Constituency Commission Report 2017" (PDF). Constituency Commission. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 

External links[edit]