The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy intends to initiate a review of the size of Local Electoral Areas across the country – a move that has prompted local councillors in Ardee to call for an increase in size of their committee, and perhaps even an increase in area size.
Local Electoral Areas currently have a minimum of six seats – this is the case in the Ardee Municipal District area – and a maximum of ten seats and. It has been suggested that the government review recommend abolishing larger sized electoral areas and introducing new smaller ones.
This has led councillors at Thursday’s Ardee Municipal District meeting to discuss the potential reshuffle, which may impact on the future electoral prospects of the councillors. They believe as it stands the current six councillors struggle to represent their area at full council level, given Dundalk and Drogheda have seven and four more councillors for their area respectively.
“It’s very important that a rep is given to parties for keeping the Ardee Municipal District at six, if not getting an increase,” Jim Tenanty. “We did look for that at the setting up of the Municipal District. The Minister will be announcing a review of local electoral areas.”
“We should have an increase of one if not two,” he said. “That’s my personal view. Other members should lobby their parties. It’s very important this area is represented to it’s full capacity.
“Our strength in terms of representing is not as strong,” Fine Gael councillor Colm Markey said. The Togher based councillor wanted the three municipal areas in louth – Ardee, Dundalk and Drogheda – more evenly matched up.
He told the meeting he believed there were rural areas near Dundalk and Drogheda that could be better served by a Municipal District with a “strong rural connection.”
Markey said that if some areas on the outskirts of the two bigger towns in the county were incorporated into a larger Mid-Louth Municipal district, that could lead to the greater Ardee area seeing it’s local council representation rise in line with that in Dundalk and Drogheda.
Currently, there are six Ardee Municipal District councillors while 10 sit in Drogheda and 13 cover a split Dundalk north and south area. The Ardee councillors hail from the town itself, Togher, Clogherhead, Castlebellingham and Dromiskin and are responsible for the entire Mid-Louth area.