Tipp reunited with Lower Ormond

Thursday, 6 July 2017

IT'S A GAME of give and take in Tipperary as the strongly criticised changes by the Boundary Commission to section off great swathes of North Tipperary to Offaly for the last general election look set to be reversed.
However, the proposed changes will see parts of the county be subsumed into County Limerick, with areas such as Ballina and Newport, as well as the mountainous areas of Rearcross and Kilcommon becoming part of the Limerick electoral area.
Tipperary will keep its five TDs with no change in the number of Deputies representing the constituency, while Limerick will have seven TDs, with a three-seat constituency for Limerick County and a separate four-seat constituency for the city.
For last year's election almost 10,000 voters were transfered overnight into Offaly - a move which caused consternation among hopeful TDs faced with canvassing in a transformed area to a very confused electorate.
The situation caused many anomalies and casualties, such as the very popular Kilbarron-based Councillor Joe Hannigan very narrowly failing to claim the last seat.
The return of the Lower Ormond region could potentially bolster Fine Gael's hopes of returning a Tipperary Deputy to the Dail, if they can win back one of the seats they lost in the last election.
However, the decision to now section off Ballina and Newport and surrounding villages into the Limerick region could particularly cause upset for the Labour party.
The new Commission report recommends that 4,300 voters in the Newport area will transfer to Limerick and this could have a significant impact on Deputy Alan Kelly, who has a strong base in the area.
Newport is also the home area of Cllr Fiona Bonfield, who is Labour's only representative on Nenagh Municipal District and Tipperary County Council.
While welcoming the decision to reunite Lower Ormond and Tipperary, Deputy Kelly said he is "deeply upset and annoyed that the Commission has decided to move Newport, Birdhill and some related areas into Limerick."
“This is a disgraceful move. The very correct reasons given for moving Lower Ormond back into Tipperary are contradicted by their decision to move the Newport and Birdhill areas into Limerick," Deputy Kelly said this week.
“These areas are part of Tipperary. They are not part of Limerick," he stressed.
Deputy Kelly said he has represented the people of this area for a decade and "they've been good to me."
He said he has received calls all week from people who are "furious with this move."
“It doesn't make sense to them and it doesn't make sense to me. Myself and my colleague Cllr Fiona Bonfield will be fighting to get this area back into Tipperary at the earliest opportunity," he vowed.
On the return of Lower Ormond to the Tipperary electoral area, Deputy Kelly said campaigned for and submitted a petition to the Commission on the issue and said he was "alone amongst Tipperary TDs in doing so."
“It was something I researched for some time and put forward both legal and moral arguments as to why the area should be put back into Tipperary. I asked the people of Lower Ormond to support me on this and almost 1,500 did so by way of a petition I organised," Deputy Kelly said.
“It was always totally wrong that over 10,000 people were moved into Offaly. They were furious at such a move and it didn't make sense particularly as the county council and VEC mergers created an alignment of services in Tipperary and this went totally against this," he said.


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