Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has said she could stand to gain from the potential re-drawing of electoral boundaries for next year’s European elections.
The Boundary Commission is expected to shake-up the Irish constituencies if Ireland loses an MEP seat in 2014, as recommended by the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee. Ten other EU member states are also facing the loss of an MEP, to facilitate Croatia’s accession to the EU.
Ms McGuinness said the loss of a seat for Ireland will be “hugely regrettable” and that she will vote against the move when it comes before the European Parliament in the coming months. However, the Meath-based Fine Gael MEP also stated that a re-drawing of the boundaries of her own constituency of Ireland East could work to her advantage.
“It could result in parts of Ireland East going into Ireland South, and parts of the Northwest constituency coming into Leinster,” she said, adding that she’s “not fearful” of any potential changes.
“In the 2004 mandate I represented the counties of Longford and Westmeath, which were part of the Leinster constituency until they were taken back to Connaught. If those counties were to come back under my remit, it would be like re-acquainting myself with old friends, which would be very welcome,” said Ms McGuinness.
She also suggested that any broadening of Ireland East to include Cavan and/or Monaghan would also suit her.
“I do a lot of work in Cavan and Monaghan because they’re neighbouring counties, in fact, Kingscourt is just up the road from me, so if they were to come under a new constituency I would feel very much at home with that,” she said.
“Whatever happens, it will be politically interesting,” she concluded.