A number of local representations were made recently regarding the new electoral boundaries for county Meath, and in particular the future of the Dunshaughlin electoral area.
The submissions were made to the Local Electoral Boundaries Commission, which is responsible for advising the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan on how the new electoral areas should be divided for the 2014 local elections.
Meath County Council have not made any specific recommendations in their report, but did put forward a request that Meath will get sanction for the maximum number of 40 county councillors. The county is currently represented by 29 members.
Under the boundary commission guidelines, each electoral area within the county should be of similar population level and should be designed around existing municipal centres. The number of local representatives will be based on the population of the area, with one representative for each 4,830 person in the population.
Under the current divisions the Dunshaughlin electoral area has the greatest population of the five areas in Meath, with 46,822 recorded in the 2011 census. Some re-drawing of the boundaries seems likely, as the populations of the Kells and Trim areas both fall below the 30,000 mark.
Meath Fine Gael have made an independent submission which recommends dividing Meath into six electoral areas. Under this proposal, Ashbourne would become the municipal centre of a new area, which would include Kilbrew, Tara, Kentstown, Ardcath and Stamullen. Dunshaughlin, Dunboyne and Ratoath would remain in one electoral area.
Sinn Fein have proposed that Meath remain with five electoral divisions, but they have suggested re-drawing boundaries to give similar population profiles to each area. Under this plan, Ashbourne, Ratoath, Dunshaughlin and Dunboyne would remain as one electoral area, but all of the rural areas to the west and north would become part of other areas.
The commission is due to make a recommendation before June, after which we will learn more about the future of our electoral area.