Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2009

Publication Date:January 01, 2009
 
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ELECTORAL (AMENDMENT) ACT 2009

2009 Number 4

AN ACT TO REVISE DIL AND EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONSTITUENCIES, TO PROVIDE FOR THE NUMBER OF MEMBERS TO BE ELECTED FOR SUCH CONSTITUENCIES, TO AMEND THE LAW RELATING TO THE CONSTITUENCY COMMISSION, AND FOR THOSE AND OTHER PURPOSES TO AMEND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS ACT 1997 AND CERTAIN OTHER ENACTMENTS, TO AMEND AND GIVE STATUTORY EFFECT TO THE LOCAL ELECTIONS REGULATIONS 1995 AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS.

[24th February 2009]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

1 Preliminary and General

PART 1

Preliminary and General

S-1 Short title, collective citations and construction.

1 Short title, collective citations and construction.

(1) This Act may be cited as the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009.

(2) The Electoral Acts 1992 to 2007 and this Act may be cited together as the Electoral Acts 1992 to 2009 and shall be read together as one.

(3) The European Parliament Elections Acts 1992 to 2006 and this Act (in so far as it relates to European Parliament elections) may be cited together as the European Parliament Elections Acts 1992 to 2009 and shall be read together as one.

(4) The Local Elections Acts 1974 to 2006 and this Act (in so far as it relates to local elections) may be cited together as the Local Elections Acts 1974 to 2009 and shall be read together as one.

S-2 Interpretation.

2 Interpretation.

(1) In this Act "Local Elections Regulations" means the Local Elections Regulations 1995 ( S.I. No. 297 of 1995 ).

(2) In the Schedule —

(a) a reference to a former rural district shall be construed as a reference to that district as constituted immediately before 1 October 1925, and

(b) a reference to a line drawn along any motorway, road or street shall be construed as a reference to a line drawn along the centre of such motorway, road or street.

2 Dil Constituencies and Number of Members

PART 2

Dil Constituencies and Number of Members

S-3 Number of members of Dil ireann.

3 Number of members of Dil ireann.

3.— Dil ireann shall, after the dissolution thereof that next occurs after the passing of this Act, consist of 166 members.

S-4 Constituencies.

4 Constituencies.

(1) The members of Dil ireann shall, after the dissolution of Dil ireann that next occurs after the passing of this Act, represent the constituencies specified in the Schedule .

(2) An area specified in the Schedule shall be taken to be that area as constituted on 1 March 2008, but if any doubt arises as to the constituency in which any electoral division or part thereof, or any townland or part thereof, is included, the doubt shall, subject to section 2 (2)(b), be determined by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

S-5 Number of members to be returned for constituency.

5 Number of members to be returned for constituency.

5.— A constituency specified in the Schedule shall return the number of members set out in respect thereof in the third column of that Schedule .

S-6 Repeal.

6 Repeal.

(1) Sections 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 and 7 of, and the Schedule to, the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2005 are repealed.

(2) Subsection (1) shall come into operation on the dissolution of Dil ireann that next occurs after the passing of this Act.

3 European Parliament Constituencies and Number of Members

PART 3

European Parliament Constituencies and Number of Members

S-7 Amendment of section 15 of European Parliament Elections Act 1997.

7 Amendment of section 15 of European Parliament Elections Act 1997.

7.— Section 15 of the European Parliament Elections Act 1997 is amended by substituting the following subsection for subsection (3):

"(3) An area specified in the Third Schedule shall be taken to be that area as constituted on 1 March 2008.".

S-8 Substitution of Third Schedule to European Parliament Elections Act 1997.

8 Substitution of Third Schedule to European Parliament Elections Act 1997.

8.— The European Parliament Elections Act 1997 is amended as respects European elections held after 1 January 2009 by substituting the following Schedule for the Third Schedule to that Act:

Section 15.

"THIRD SCHEDULE

Constituencies

Constituency

Area

Number of Members

Dublin

The counties of: Dn Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin; and the city of Dublin.

3

East

The counties of: Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Wexford and Wicklow.

3

North-West

The counties of: Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath; and the city of Galway.

3

South

The counties of: Cork, Kerry, Limerick, North Tipperary, South Tipperary and Waterford; and the cities of Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

3".

4 Constituency Commission

PART 4

Constituency Commission

S-9 Substitution of Part II of Electoral Act 1997.

9 Substitution of Part II of Electoral Act 1997.

9.— The Electoral Act 1997 is amended by substituting the following Part for Part II:

"PART II

Constituency Commission

Establishment of Constituency Commission.

5.— (1) Upon the publication by the Central Statistics Office, following a Census of Population, of the Census Report setting out the preliminary result of the Census in respect of the total population of the State there shall be established by the Minister, by order, a commission (in this Act referred to as "a Constituency Commission") to perform the functions assigned to it by this Part.

(2) A Constituency Commission and its members shall be independent in the performance of their functions under this Act.

(3) Every order made under subsection (1) shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made.

Functions of Constituency Commission.

6.— (1) It shall be the function of a Constituency Commission to make a report in relation to the constituencies for—

(a) the election of members to the Dil, and

(b) the election of members of the European Parliament.

(2) In preparing a report under subsection (1)(a) a Constituency Commission shall, in observing the relevant provisions of the Constitution in relation to Dil constituencies, have regard to the following:

(a) the total number of members of the Dil, subject to Article 16.2.2 of the Constitution, shall be not less than 164 and not more than 168;

(b) each constituency shall return 3, 4 or 5 members;

(c) the breaching of county boundaries shall be avoided as far as practicable;

(d) each constituency shall be composed of contiguous areas;

(e) there shall be regard to geographic considerations including significant physical features and the extent of and the density of population in each constituency; and

(f) subject to the provisions of this section, the Commission shall endeavour to maintain continuity in relation to the arrangement of constituencies.

(3) In preparing a report under subsection (1)(b) a Constituency Commission shall have regard to the following:

(a) the total number of members of the European Parliament to be elected in the State shall be 12 or such other number as may be specified for the time being pursuant to the treaties governing the European Communities;

(b) there shall be reasonable equality of representation as between constituencies; and

(c) the matters specified in paragraphs (b) to (f) of subsection (2).

(4) The reference in subsection (2)(c) to county boundaries shall be deemed not to include a reference to the boundary of a city or any boundary between any 2 of the counties of Dn Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin.

Membership of Constituency Commission.

7.— A Constituency Commission shall consist of the following members:

(a) (i) a judge of the Supreme Court, or

(ii) following consultation with the President of the High Court, a judge of the High Court,

nominated by the Chief Justice, who shall be the chairperson of the Commission;

(b) the Ombudsman;

(c) the Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government;

(d) the Clerk of the Dil; and

(e) the Clerk of the Seanad.

Provisions in relation to members.

8.— (1) Where, before the reports of a Constituency Commission have been presented to the Chairman of the Dil under section 9, the person appointed to be chairperson of the Commission—

(a) through ill-health or other reasonable cause becomes unable to act as such chairperson, the Chief Justice shall assign another judge of the Supreme Court or, following consultation with the President of the High Court, another judge of the High Court to be a member and the chairperson of the Commission,

(b) ceases to hold office as a judge of the Supreme Court or of the High Court, the person shall continue as such chairperson until the reports of the Commission have been presented unless the Chief Justice assigns another judge of either court to be a member and the chairperson of the Commission.

(2) Where the holder of an office referred to in paragraphs (b) to (e) of section 7, through ill-health or other reasonable cause, is unable to act as a member of a Constituency Commission or any such office is vacant, the Minister may appoint, in the case of—

(a) the Ombudsman, the Director General of the Office of the Ombudsman,

(b) the Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, another officer of the Minister, who is an established civil servant for the purposes of the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 to 2005,

(c) the Clerk of the Dil, the Clerk Assistant of the Dil, and

(d) the Clerk of the Seanad, the Clerk Assistant of the Seanad,

to be a member of the Commission and the person so appointed shall remain a member of the Commission until the reports of the Commission are presented to the Chairman of the Dil under section 9.

(3) Where, before the reports of a Constituency Commission have been presented to the Chairman of the Dil under section 9, a person who is a member of the Commission ceases to hold an office referred to in paragraphs (b) to (e) of section 7, the person shall continue as a member of the Commission until the reports of the Commission have been presented unless the...

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