Parts of North Tipperary could end up like the Gaza Strip with no representation, Cllr Michael O’Meara has warned. His fears come because a huge chunk of Lower Ormond that stretches from just outside Nenagh town boundary and comes close to Roscrea have been hived off into Offaly under Dail electoral reform, removing 11,000 people from the Tipperary North constituency.
“I have yet to meet anyone who is happy with this. We could end up with no representative at either local or national level,” he warned, saying he had been told by people they would not vote for Offaly politicians.
The issue was raised by Mayor Ger Darcy, who claimed people were being disenfranchised. He urged that the council try to so something about it by getting the Boundary Commission to widen the criteria for population density.
Cllr Seamus Morris called for a plebiscite on the issue, and also stated he had been told by people they would not vote in the next general election over it.
“The people in Shinrone told me last time out they had no interest in our area. People are feeling left out,” he said.
Cllr Billy Clancy called it a “double whammy” with the local councils going and functions moving to Clonmel.
“Your TD will be in Offaly and your council service will be in Clonmel,” he pointed out.
“You are not just putting people into a different county, but into a different province,” stated Cllr John Hogan. “We are Tipperary and we are Munster.”
Cllr Virginia O’Dowd said it was not acceptable to trade votes for administration purposes and said Cllr Morris’s plebiscite call had to be supported. It was also backed by Cllr John Kennedy, Cllr Pauline Coonan and Cllr Hughie McGrath.
However, county manager Joe MacGrath cautioned against it, saying more research would be required on who would vote and how it would be funded.