The recommendations of the Electoral Commission, which included raising the number of TDs from 160 to 174, has received widespread media coverage and commentary.
More seats give more opportunities for candidates from all parties and none to be elected. Pro-lifers should look at the recommended increase in seats as an opportunity. It should encourage greater engagement with politics, and hopefully prompt people to stand forward for election.
For incumbent pro-life TDs such as Carol Nolan, the Electoral Commission’s report will impact her by recommending the division of her current constituency of Laois-Offaly (5 seats) into two separate 3- seat constituencies: Laois and Offaly.
Deputy Nolan was first elected to an Offaly constituency in 2016 for Sinn Féin, and then was re-elected for Laois-Offaly in 2020. Since her voting base is strongly based in Offaly, the creation of a new Offaly constituency will hopefully solidify her vote and help her prospect of re-election at the next general election.
The Electoral Commission has also recommended splitting Tipperary (5 seats) into two separate 3-seat constituencies: Tipperary South and Tipperary North. Mattie McGrath’s vote is concentrated mostly in the south of the county. Therefore, the division of Tipperary in two will likely be of net benefit to him as a candidate in Tipperary South. But, like with Carol Nolan’s situation above and the case of all the other pro-life candidates, absolutely nothing should be taken for granted. They will only be re-elected (and first time pro-life candidates elected) if pro-life volunteers get behind these candidates one hundred percent and do everything in our power to ensure they succeed.
The recommendations also have the interesting consequence of creating several new constituencies, such as Wicklow-Wexford and the division of Dublin Fingal into two 3 seat east and west constituencies.