The increase in the state’s population since 2016 has resulted in 38 of the Dáil’s 39 constituencies having more than 30,000 people represented by each TD, according to preliminary results of the 2022 census.
This could lead to the requirement for more DTs as there are currently 160 DTs and under the Constitution there must be one DT for every 20,000 to 30,000 people.
The number of people per Dáil member stands at 32,022, up from 29,762 in 2016.
Political analyst Odran Flynn has called for a change in the Constitution as the increase in population in this year’s census would result in the requirement of at least 11 more TDs.
He believes that the country is already “significantly overrepresented” by DTs compared to the number of elected officials per capita in other Western democracies.
“Theoretically you could have 250 TDs under the Constitution, but there must be a minimum of 171 based on the current population size in this census,” he said.
“If they don’t change the Constitution, the number of DTs is going to increase with every census given the pattern of population increase we’ve seen with every census.”
The 2022 census shows that the constituency with the highest number of people for each TD was Dublin Fingal, a five-seat constituency, with 34,138 people per representative in the Dáil.
This is followed by Dublin Rathdown in South Dublin, a three-seater constituency with 33,718 people per TD, and Kildare North, a four-seater constituency with 33,589 people per TD.
County Limerick, a three-seat constituency, had the lowest number of people per TD at 29,826. It was the only constituency with fewer than 30,000 people per TD.
The fastest growing Dáil constituency was Meath East, where the population grew by 11,493 people or 13% since the last census in 2016. The three-seat constituency is home to Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Minister of Justice State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne. .
All 39 precincts posted population increases in line with population growth across the country, with each county seeing an increase over the past six years.
The slowest growing constituencies were Dublin Bay South, where the population grew by 5%, County Limerick by 4% and Donegal by 4%.
This 2022 census data will be provided to the Election Commission, which determines the composition of precincts across the state, and the commission’s report on revised precinct boundaries is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023 and based on the final results. of the census.