Ahead of a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Wednesday) that will endorse two additional Parliament seats for Ireland in next May’s European elections, Mairead McGuinness MEP and first Vice-President of the Parliament has called on the Irish Government to urgently look at Ireland’s electoral boundaries and mandate a Constituency Commission to redraw the boundaries.
The new composition was endorsed by a vote of the Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs, of which McGuinness is a Member, in Strasbourg on Monday.
“I welcome the Parliament’s support for Ireland gaining two MEPs for the next year’s European elections, due to take place between 23rd and 26th May,” Ms McGuinness said. “I’m also glad member states have endorsed the Parliament’s proposals, making no substantial changes and confirming the two additional Irish MEPs.”
Currently there are three European constituencies – Dublin with three seats, Midlands North West with four seats and South with four seats. The drawing of the new boundaries will depend on population base and representation.
Ms McGuinness said there are several possibilities for new constituency boundaries. “This work needs to be carried out by the Constituency Commission which needs to be mandated to redraw boundaries – sooner rather than later,” she said.
As well as giving Ireland two extra seats the proposal will reduce the number of MEPs from 751 to 705. The smaller Parliament arises as 73 UK MEPs will no longer sit in Parliament.
“As the EU is getting smaller it is appropriate that the European Parliament should also reduce in size,” the MEP said.
And she said it is regrettable that there will be no UK MEPs after the 2019 elections.
“Many of them were excellent to work with across a wide policy platform.”
She said the EU is acknowledging that Brexit means Brexit, the UK will not contest the 2019 elections.
Twenty-seven of the UK’s 73 seats will be redistributed to member states to ensure fair representation in the 2019 elections, including two for Ireland.
“This is a time of change arising from Brexit and with the UK leaving it is positive that there will be two additional Irish voices in the European Parliament,” McGuinness said. “However, now we urgently need the Constituency Commission to be mandated to redraw the boundaries.”
Note to editors:
Following the Parliament’s consent to the draft European Council decision, the decision will be sent for endorsement by EU heads of state and government at the June Council summit.