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  (Republic of) Ireland constituency review 2016-17
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Author Topic: (Republic of) Ireland constituency review 2016-17  (Read 2437 times)
Kevinstat
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« on: July 20, 2016, 06:26:16 pm »
« edited: July 31, 2016, 12:01:08 am by Kevinstat »

A useful timeline from Maynooth University Geography Lecturer Adrian Kavanagh

The Preliminary Results of Census 2016 ("Geographic Changes" section)

The press release announcing the Constituency Commission (with the commissions Terms of Reference)

Adrian Kavanagh's initial number-crunching (updated to talk more about which new breaches of county boundaries might be necessary and which existing ones can be eliminated, and to reflect that the options he had discussed with more than 160 seats are in violation of the Constituency Commission's Terms of Reference)
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2016, 06:35:50 pm »
« Edited: July 20, 2016, 06:44:43 pm by Kevinstat »

Some thoughts of mine, which I've tried unsuccessfully to post as a comment to Kavanagh's analysis, although I did post them in multiple replies to a post of his on the site's Facebook page:

Interesting that even with Ireland gaining a seat, twice as many constituencies would be underpopulated by more than 5% as overpopulated by more than 5% (although I've checked and it would be the same with 158 as 159, as there are fairly big gaps in population/TD ratios in just the right places).

"The over-representation of the Limerick County and Clare constituencies, for instance, could be addressed by means of territory transfers into both constituencies from the neighbouring Limerick City constituency."

Could Ballyglass (the part of County Clare presently in Limerick City) potentially be split? Moving (all of) it back into Clare would make the Limerick constituencies (on average) more than 5% undersized. Clare is not exceptionally underpopulated now, so perhaps the Commission will just balance out the two main County Limerick constituencies with Ballyglass remaining in Limerick City.

A Limerick-Tipperary 12-seat combo (with the Limerick County constituency extending into County Tipperary) would work though, as would an Offaly-Laois-Kildare 13-seat combo (either with two "remainder bits" of Kildare or with the Offaly constituency gaining part of County Laois and the Laois constituency gaining some more or Kildare) and a Longford-Westmeath-Meath 11-seat combo (with an extra seat in probably Meath East, which would gain back Drogheda's environs in County Meath). County Louth could combine with counties Monaghan and Cavan for 9 seats (Louth being a 4-seater and Cavan-Monaghan a 5-seater). Sligo-Leitrim gould make up for its losses in Cavan by gaining some more of County Donegal, with no seats being lost there.  The Wicklow constituency could lose its portion of County Carlow, with Carlow-Kilkenny and Wicklow both being within 5%.  All constituencies outside County Dublin (which I haven't looked much at) and those counties I've mentioned above could stay as they are.

That would put Munster with 43.0568/160 of the Republic's population at 43 TDs (down from 43+), Leinster outside Dublin with 43.2223/160 of the nation's population at 43+ TDs (up from 43-), County Dublin at 45.2428/160 of the population at 45 TDs as Kavanagh postulates, and Connaght-Ulster at 28.4781/160 of the population at 29- TDs (it was hosed last time, getting only 28 TDs out of 158 while having 28.8391/158 of the Republic's population, so this would kind of compensate for that).
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jimrtex
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 06:46:37 am »

A useful timeline from Maynooth University Geography Lecturer Adrian Kavanagh

The Preliminary Results of Census 2016 ("Geographic Changes" section)

The press release announcing the Constituency Commission (with the commissions Terms of Reference)

Adrian Kavanagh's initial number-crunching (updated to talk more about which new breaches of county boundaries might be necessary and which existing ones can be eliminated, and to reflect that the options he had discussed with more than 160 seats are in violation of the Constituency Commission's Terms of Reference)
The Republic of Ireland should adopt Weighted STV voting, where each TD has a voting weight proportional to the share of the population and share of the vote they receive.

159 TDs would be apportioned among the counties. Smaller counties (less than 2.50) will be joined with neighboring counties. Larger counties will be divided into more than one constituency:

For example:

Dublin City     18.49(4)
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown     7.26(2)
Fingal   9.90(2)
South Dublin   9.32(2)
Kildare   7.42(2)
Kilkenny-Carlow   5.21
Laois   2.83   1
Louth   4.29   1
Meath   6.51(2)
Offaly   2.61
Westmeath-Longford   4.32
Wexford   5.00
Wicklow   4.76
      
Clare   3.96
Cork City   4.20
Cork County   13.92(3)
Kerry    4.93
Limerick County&City   6.52(2)
Tipperary   5.36
Waterford County&City   3.89

Galway City   2.66
Galway County   5.98
Mayo   4.36
Sligo-Roscommon-Leitrim   5.41
Cavan-Monaghan   4.59
Donegal   5.31

Instead of Mayo being dismembered, and a remnant electing four TDs, The whole of Mayo would elect TDs (likely 4 or 5) who will exercise a total of 4.36 TD votes.

The election would be conducted by STV with certain enhancements.

The quota would be Total_Votes/TD_Votes

There will be a limit (say 1.25*quota), above which surpluses will be distributed.

and a threshold (say min(1.00, max(TD_Votes*0.18, 0/60) which will be required for election. This will permit more pluralistic results, particular in smaller constituencies.

For example in Mayo with 4.91 TD votes, elected TD's will have between 0.78 and 1.25 TD votes.

In Offaly with 2.61 TD votes, between 0.60 and 1.25 TD votes.

In Galway County with 5.98 TD votes, between 1.00 and 1.25 TD votes.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 04:55:07 pm »

Anyone care to comment within the realm of present legal possibilities in the ROI?  Does a constituency crossing the Monaghan-Louth border have any chance of happening?
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2016, 09:10:30 pm »

You know, at first when I read your (jimrtex's) reply, going into it thinking it might be some suggestion as to what the boundary commission might or ought to do, given its fairly narrow terms of reference, and then I saw "weighted voting", I was like "here we go again" and dismissed it out of hand without even giving a good look at your suggestion.  Now I have, and it is intriguing.  So the poll-toppers who exceed a quota in the first count would have more of a vote than the person in the same constituency who just scrapes by to win the last seat?  I like that.

So a different number of TDs could be elected in any given constituency (and thus overall) depending on how the vote breaks down (with more TDs being elected in a more "fragmented" vote (in quotes as how preferences of eliminated candidates break down could also be a determining factor in how many candidates get a piece of the TD vote pie)).  Very interesting.  Thanks for discussing this hypothetical possibility (if the rules in the Republic of Ireland allowed for it), and I'm sorry I didn't give it the interest that it deserved earlier.  I'd still be interested in people's suggestions of possibilities within the Constituency Commissions terms of reference, however.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2016, 12:38:30 pm »

The part in red relates to your original question. Does the division of counties to achieve more equal districts lead to increased entropy?

You know, at first when I read your (jimrtex's) reply, going into it thinking it might be some suggestion as to what the boundary commission might or ought to do, given its fairly narrow terms of reference, and then I saw "weighted voting", I was like "here we go again" and dismissed it out of hand without even giving a good look at your suggestion.  Now I have, and it is intriguing.  So the poll-toppers who exceed a quota in the first count would have more of a vote than the person in the same constituency who just scrapes by to win the last seat?  I like that.

So a different number of TDs could be elected in any given constituency (and thus overall) depending on how the vote breaks down (with more TDs being elected in a more "fragmented" vote (in quotes as how preferences of eliminated candidates break down could also be a determining factor in how many candidates get a piece of the TD vote pie)).  Very interesting.  Thanks for discussing this hypothetical possibility (if the rules in the Republic of Ireland allowed for it), and I'm sorry I didn't give it the interest that it deserved earlier.  I'd still be interested in people's suggestions of possibilities within the Constituency Commissions terms of reference, however.
Traditional STV is a crude form of weighting. The number of seats in a constituency measures the population. But if a county is entitled to 3.4 TDs, either an area equivalent to 0.4 TDs is lopped off, or an area equivalent to 0.6 TDs is appended.

Once an area has been divided there may be continued tweaks to keep the constituency near an integer number of seats. Perhaps the area with the extra 0.6 population fit well with 3.4 area. But if there is decline in population to 3.2, will the added 0.2 fit as well. It would be interesting to track the history of split counties to see if they have increased over time.

Then when apportioning the seats within the constituency an attempt is made to partition the voters in groups that are 1/(N+1) of the electorate. Not only are the support groups equalized, the votes of part of the electorate are discarded. In a 3-seater with 40,000 votes, each elected TD represents exactly 10,000 voters. Instead of the other 10,000 voters being lopped off, their votes are discarded. Instead of shifting them to another area, they are treated as if they had moved.

In my example, I made sure that every constituency had the equivalent of at least 2.5 members, but that might not be necessary. In British Columbia there are areas in the north and interior that are huge, and districts are often left underpopulated. With variably-sized districts, you can recognize a community, and give it an equitable share of the vote. And if you don't require that all legislators represent the same number of votes you can still have some pluralism in remote areas.

The threshold of 0.18 times the quota is designed to permit the possibly of 5 TDs being returned from most constituencies. For constituencies with less than 3.00 TDs, the alternate limit of 0.60 will limit the maximum to 4 TDs.

I glossed over exhausted votes.
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ObserverIE
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2016, 04:24:50 pm »

Anyone care to comment within the realm of present legal possibilities in the ROI?  Does a constituency crossing the Monaghan-Louth border have any chance of happening?

Technically, yes. Are you proposing to add part of Louth to Monaghan or vice versa?
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2016, 10:24:40 pm »

Anyone care to comment within the realm of present legal possibilities in the ROI?  Does a constituency crossing the Monaghan-Louth border have any chance of happening?

Technically, yes. Are you proposing to add part of Louth to Monaghan or vice versa?

More the former, as that would result in fewer people being "moved" across the county/provincial line (County Cavan + County Monaghan is (in the preliminary numbers) at 4.5904/159 or 4.6193/160 of the Republic's population, while County Louth is at 4.2900/159 or 4.3170/160 of the Republic's population).  But the latter is a thought too, and would mean not changing (back from 2011 or 2007) the number of seats in the Cavan-Monaghan or Louth constituencies (although you'd have a not negligible "shifting" of both constituencies).
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2016, 11:44:11 pm »
« Edited: July 31, 2016, 02:25:30 pm by Kevinstat »

Crap, just lot a whole lot.

Jimrtex, the portion of County Clare in a Limerick City-based constituency (that portion being extant from the 1990 review/1992 election) expanded from part of the Ballyglass electoral division to all of Ballyglass in the 2004 review (going into effect with the 2007 election).  But that change did at least reunite Ballyglass (and in the direction that moved less of Ballyglass's 2002 census population).  The recent case of part of County Offaly being in a County Tipperary-based constituency lasted only one review/one Dáil, replaced by the opposite which is on its first Dáil.  Counties Westmeath and Meath were intact going into the 2004 review/2007 election, as was County Louth going into the 2007 review/2011 election, and none of the portions of any of those counties in "another county's constituency" has changed since those respective breaches occurred.  The portion of County Carlow being in the Wicklow constituency didn't change in the 2004 review and hasn't changed since then, but I can't vouch for the whole time since the 1995 review/1997 election when part of County Carlow was moved into Wicklow.  Same goes for whether or not there were any changes to the portion of County Clare in then-Limerick East from the 1990 initial splitting to the 2004 expansion.  Perhaps Jas could provide some answers here.

Knowing that Ballyglass has been split before makes me wonder if the boundary commission might split it again to allow all three constituencies covering counties Clare and Limerick to be within range without having to change the external boundaries of those constituencies.  Assuming 160 seats total, Clare's at -5.25% now without Ballyglass and the two-constituency 7-seat conglomerate of Limerick City and Limerick County would be at -6.24% if Ballyglass were taken away.  It's even worse with 159 seats.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2016, 02:49:18 pm »

I forgot to mention the recent split of County Leitrim (last two Dáils before the present one).  It's different from the expanding (maybe just once) portion of County Clare in Limerick East/Limerick City as the Leitrim name was in the name of both constituencies covering the county and the two most obvious (not necessarily official) subdivisions of the county were only divided (one of them) in the second of those two Dáils.  But it was a case where the initial dividing line seemed pretty good in terms of communities of interest (not that that stopped folks in Leitrim from having a conniption) while the second dividing line to get both of the constituencies (or get one and keep the other, I'm not sure) within the target range didn't seem as good.

I'm looking on an online map and I'm not seeing any bridges over the Shannon between Lough Allen and where (if you're going upstream) the boundary with County Cavan first hits the river.  There's one bridge over the river by Dowra in County Cavan shortly before the river "leaves" (going upstream) County Leitrim entirely.
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ObserverIE
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2016, 06:31:49 pm »
« Edited: August 02, 2016, 06:52:03 pm by ObserverIE »

I forgot to mention the recent split of County Leitrim (last two Dáils before the present one).  It's different from the expanding (maybe just once) portion of County Clare in Limerick East/Limerick City as the Leitrim name was in the name of both constituencies covering the county and the two most obvious (not necessarily official) subdivisions of the county were only divided (one of them) in the second of those two Dáils.  But it was a case where the initial dividing line seemed pretty good in terms of communities of interest (not that that stopped folks in Leitrim from having a conniption) while the second dividing line to get both of the constituencies (or get one and keep the other, I'm not sure) within the target range didn't seem as good.

I'm looking on an online map and I'm not seeing any bridges over the Shannon between Lough Allen and where (if you're going upstream) the boundary with County Cavan first hits the river.  There's one bridge over the river by Dowra in County Cavan shortly before the river "leaves" (going upstream) County Leitrim entirely.

There is no direct connection between north and south Leitrim unless you go through Dowra (or swim). North Leitrim also has a much smaller population than south Leitrim. A lot of the south is poor farming territory but much of the north is wilderness.

To go into history, Leitrim is:

1. Breifne Uí Ruairc less Teallach Aodha/Tullyhaw (the Cavan panhandle, McGovern/Mag Shamhráin country) and Teallach Dhonnchadha/Tullyhunco (south-west Cavan, McKiernan/Mac Thighearnáin country) and a strip of what is now south Fermanagh (all of these collectively corresponding to the western part of Kilmore diocese), which were attached to Cavan in 1609, and
2. Muintir Eolais (corresponding to the parts of Leitrim in Ardagh diocese, Reynolds/Mac Raghnaill country), which was attached to Leitrim from Longford in the 1570s.

I know it may be logical to split it, but you're running up against a strong sense of local identity combined with feelings of neglect and victimisation by central government.
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ObserverIE
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2016, 06:50:11 pm »
« Edited: August 02, 2016, 07:04:18 pm by ObserverIE »

Crap, just lot a whole lot.

Jimrtex, the portion of County Clare in a Limerick City-based constituency (that portion being extant from the 1990 review/1992 election) expanded from part of the Ballyglass electoral division to all of Ballyglass in the 2004 review (going into effect with the 2007 election).  But that change did at least reunite Ballyglass (and in the direction that moved less of Ballyglass's 2002 census population).

There are two population centres in Ballyglass ED - Athlunkard/Shannon Banks on the border with Limerick city, and Parteen/Ardnacrusha further north.

Electoral divisions don't have much meaning on the ground in most cases because they're not used for anything else other than as building blocks for county electoral areas or Dáil constituencies. http://census.cso.ie/sapmap/ allows you to zoom in and get population figures for EDs, Small Areas (statistical subdivisions of EDs which were introduced publicly for the 2011 census), and townlands (the most basic Irish land divisions and the most meaningful in rural areas).

The detailed polling scheme for Clare is here.

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I don't think either have changed since their inception - certainly Carlow/Wicklow hasn't. The various Electoral Acts specify constituency boundaries in their schedules, e.g. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1990/act/36/schedule/1/enacted/en/html#sched1.

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Kevinstat
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2016, 07:59:19 pm »
« Edited: August 02, 2016, 08:04:13 pm by Kevinstat »

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I don't think either have changed since their inception - certainly Carlow/Wicklow hasn't. The various Electoral Acts specify constituency boundaries in their schedules, e.g. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1990/act/36/schedule/1/enacted/en/html#sched1.

Since you said "either" and "since their inception", I thought I'd point out where the 2004 Constituency Commission discusses their decision to expand the portion of County Clare in Limerick East (as it was named at the time) from part of the Ballyglass electoral division to all of it.  It's on page 34 of the 2004 report (PDF), with maps apparently on pages 32 and 33 which may show the territory moving but which don't come out for me for whatever reason.  So that was definitely a changed (expanded) portion of one county in the same "other county's constituency" (that's what Jimrtex was inquiring about in red in his last post on this thread).

Thanks for that link.  As it only mentioned the townlands in Clare (in Ballyglass) that were being placed in Limerick East and I couldn't see those listed in the 2004 report (the earliest available on their web site) when the rest of Ballyglass joined them (those townlands were listed in the Forth Appendix as areas moving from one constituency to another), I'd have to see text of the 1995 ('96?) and 1998 ('99?) Electoral (Amendment) Acts to verify that the portion of County Clare in Limerick East (and I'd also check the portion of County Carlow in Wicklow) was unchanged in those acts (I know they weren't changed in 2004 or after, assuming the electoral acts followed (entirely) the constituency commission's recommendations (have they ever not since the adoption of the commission system?).

Anyway, it sounds like dividing the Ballyglass electoral division again (the only way to get all three of the Limerick-Clare constituencies within 5% without adding territory from neighboring counties or a swap between Clare and the Limerick constituencies) is a definite possibility.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2016, 01:28:04 am »
« Edited: November 12, 2016, 01:55:57 am by Kevinstat »

Seven submissions to the Constituency Commission have been received and published on their website so far (all regarding Dáil constituencies, although the commission will be reviewing (or "reviewing") the European Parliament constituencies as well).  The authors of some of these submissions did not seem to have a good understanding of the commission's terms of reference, or how the numbers broke down.  One person from County Mayo objected to Ballinrobe being in Galway West (fair enough) but then he mentioned County Mayo remaining a four-seater (okay, so with some of the county going to another constituency, right?) with, if necessary (okay, here we go.  Oh, wait.) some of County Sligo moved in.  I guess he didn't realize that County Mayo's population is actually too large for a four-seater.  He also criticized how parts of County Cavan and County Donegal were in a Sligo-Leitrim constituency, but didn't suggest any alternatives to how to handle the ripple effect of those areas moving to neighboring constituencies (and in the case of County Donegal the only place for a remainder to go or shortage to come from is (or has to start with) northern County Leitrim, and County Donegal would be undisputedly too short for two three seaters and +6.77% for a five-seater, which is within deviations accepted by past commissions but generally when to avoid changing existing constituencies).

Councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick of County Offaly's submission about reinstating the Laois-Offaly constituency was reasonable (bad grammar notwithstanding) until he closed by suggesting the constituency be reinstated as a six-seater, which of course would violate present statute or statutes (albeit not the Irish constitution) and therefore the commission's terms of reference.  Someone else wanted all of counties Longford and Westmeath in one constituency, which with the closest number of seats (the present 4) would yield a deviation of +8.62 which exceeds the maximum deviation ever accepted by a Constituency Commission (Mayo East at -7.89% in the 1983 review) since the commission system was set up in the late 70s.

Other submissions didn't propose any violation but were quite vague, like one regarding County Clare which didn't suggest what to due with the resulting shortage in the remainder of the 7-seat conglomerate covering County Limerick (like my suggestion of adding part of County Tipperary, which would be compensated for by Tipperary gaining the northern part of its namesake county and counties Offaly and (most of) Laois becoming a five-seater, with the remainder of Laois going to Kildare South which would (either it or Kildare North) gain a seat).  A representative from the Association of Irish Local Government just urged the commission to have constituency boundaries align with county boundaries as far as possible.

What do people think of a realignment of the two Meath constituencies as Meath North and Meath South (with the River Boyne being a rough dividing line) as one person suggested?
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2017, 11:21:55 am »

All 418 submissions to the Constituency Commission regarding the present review of Dáil and European Parliament Constituencies submitted by the January 10 deadline have been added to the commission's website.

My first submission (PDF) (Yes, I made a submission even though I have no connection to Ireland, as I admitted in my submission.)

My second submission (PDF) (expressing a change of heart regarding what to do in "Connacht-Donegal" (not Connacht-Ulster as I hadn't changed my mind as to what to do with Cavan-Monaghan))

Adrian Kavanagh's commentary on the submissions (It focuses on submissions regarding a single constituency, rather than broader submissions, even though the 2007 review showed that a large number of people saying "reunite our county" without addressing the ripple effect isn't always persuasive.)
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2017, 09:23:25 am »
« Edited: April 09, 2017, 10:12:34 am by Kevinstat »

Census 2016 Summary Results - Part 1
Main page
Tables

I can't seem to find results for Electoral Divisions in tabular format, like I could with the preliminary results in the Geographic Changes section (under Electoral Divisions), but you can painstakingly find (implicitly final, not preliminary, but I'm not sure) totals for individual EDs at an AIRO mapping interface.

Revised (or rehashed) commentary and number-crunching by Adrian Kavanagh
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2017, 07:34:12 pm »

The report is out!

Constituency Commission's main page with a bullet-point summary of the changes

Constituency Commission's Reports page, with PDF links to the report and maps
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2017, 07:52:11 pm »

Part of Roscommon is now in a constituency with part of Donegal!

I had suggested part of Mayo being in with Sligo-Leitrim(-Donegal), which would arguably have been even weirder, but now part of Roscommon is in a Sligo-based constituency, a slightly larger part of Galway is in a Roscommon-based constituency, and part of Mayo (albeit a smaller part) is still in a Galway-based constituency.  My plan would have had the Mayo remainder be in Sligo-Leitrim and would have allowed the lines within Galway to remain the same.
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