The European Parliament Elections Amendment Bill 2013 changes current European Parliament constituencies. The changes follow the reduction in Ireland’s MEPs from 12 to 11. There will now be 3 MEP constituencies; Dublin, the South and the Midlands North West. There are currently four: Dublin, the south, the east and the north west.
The Bill amends schedule 3 of the European Parliament Elections Act of 1997 and changes European Parliament constituencies in the state. Of course the reduction means Ireland will one less representative in the European parliament which is not ideal as we have one less voice to represent Irish interests but the reduction is pan-European so every member state is losing members according to size and so forth. This legislation follows on from the Electoral, Local Government and Planning and Development Act of 2013 which allowed for the establishment of a committee to examine European Parliament constituencies and make changes to the current nomination requirements for non-Irish or UK nationals standing in European parliament elections here and this Bill includes the committee’s recommended changes to the constituencies as a result.
The Local Government Bill is a piece of reforming legislation currently in its second stage in the Seanad. As Fine Gael Spokesperson for the Environment, Community and Local Government, I am very interested in the legislation and spoke recently to the Minister in the Seanad on the topic:
We are here today to bring into being one of the most ‘radical’ changes we have seen in Local Government since the foundation of the State, The Minister has brought forward and set out a wide range of actions, to deliver reform across key areas of local government in order to address weaknesses, to enhance effectiveness and accountability, and to improve performance across the entire system. This Bill gives legislative effect to those proposals and I am privileged to be elected into this position (by Councillors) and given the opportunity to contribute to this important debate, on behalf of the people of Ireland for an enhanced Local Government.
I recently spoke in the Seanad about the terrible storm damage suffered by residents certain coastal areas:
I welcome the Minister to the House to discuss the recent storm damage as a result of flooding. The extreme weather conditions over the Christmas period has caused much destruction in various parts of the country and along coastal areas in particular who bore the brunt of the storm damage. While it is very unfortunate that this type of freak weather does occur and leave a trail of destruction behind it, it is not the first time that it happened in Ireland and it won’t be the last. In January 1839, a major winter storm hit Ireland. Homes, shops and farms were destroyed, and several hundred people lost their lives. In Dublin alone, nearly a quarter of houses were damaged, and 42 ships were wrecked and it has is said the wind carried seashells as far inland as Athlone.
That was a long time ago of course but nowadays we tend to think that sudden weather changes are a modern phenomenon somehow- this is perhaps true to an extent. We cannot know for certain as our weather records only date as far back as the 1800s.