NEWS

Proposals would see more than 2,000 people moved from the Donegal Municipal District for next election

Fine Gael suggestion for south west Donegal has been attacked

Declan Magee

Reporter:

Declan Magee

Counting the vote.

Proposals could see more than 2,000 people removed from the Donegal Municipal District for the next local elections.
The proposals, which have been made by Fine Gael, would see the areas in Kilcar and Glencolmcille transferred from the Donegal Municipal District into the Glenties Municipal District.
The plans, which have been submitted to the Local Area Boundary Committee, would also see areas around Creeslough moved from Glenties into a new Milford electoral area.
The deadline for submissions closed on Monday and the committee is expected to publish its findings towards the end of the year to be in place for next year’s local elections.
The proposals from the Fine Gael Donegal constituency executive would see the district electoral divisions of Cill Chartaigh, Cill Ghabhlaigh, Gleann Cholm Cille and Malainn Bhig move into Glenties.
Independent councillor in the Donegal Municipal District Niamh Kennedy has attacked the plans, saying they were more motivated by electoral gain rather than the benefit of the people living in the areas.
“It is shocking for the people in those areas,” she said. “Why would you do that when their natural hinterland is Donegal Bay. I don't think they have thought it through or they have thought it through for their own interest.
“Their logic is that Glenties Municipal District is a big district with a similar population. But the deprivation index shows it's the most deprived area of the county. Are we going to add Kilcar and Glencolmcille into that as well? I am shocked. It is not logical. It should be about the people in the area that are doing to be out off in a different electoral area, it should not be about political gain.”
Councillors met in a behind closed doors workshop on Monday to discuss the boundary committee.
Cathaoirleach Gerry McMonagle attacked the establishment of the commission.
“In my opinion, I don’t know why they are meddling as we are only coming out of the most recent changes which were hailed at the time as the best way forward and the best deal for everyone. For me, I cannot understand why we looking to change it again.”
The review of the makeup of county councils around the country could see the number of electoral areas increased and the number of councillors in each electoral area fall.
The government has established two committees to review and make recommendations on local electoral areas.
Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform John Paul Phelan has asked the committees to make recommendations that ensure no electoral area has fewer than five councillors or more than seven.
In some circumstances, recommendations will be allowed that have electoral areas of three or four seats if “otherwise the geographic size of the area would be disproportionately large”.
Donegal has five municipal districts each comprising of one electoral area.
There are 37 councillors spread over five municipal districts - Inishowen, Letterkenny Stranorlar, Donegal, and Glenties.
Letterkenny is the biggest electoral area with ten councillors followed by Inishowen with nine.
Donegal, Glenties, Stranorlar all have six each.
Councillors called on Monday for the number of members to remain at 37.
The committee is expected to split the Letterkenny Municipal District into two electoral areas, the new one comprising much of what was formerly known as the Milford electoral area.
Changes are also expected in the Inishowen Municipal District. The Donegal, Glenties, and Stranorlar areas are expected to retain six members each.

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