This time next year the people of Ireland will go to the polls to elect 717 councillors in 127 local electoral areas, 28 of them in Clare. A review of local area boundaries has recommended that the Shannon Municipal District will elect an additional councillor in 2019, bringing the total to seven.
The recommendations were published in the first report of the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee which was presented to Minister of State for Housing, Planning and Local Government, John Paul Phelan.
The committee had been appointed last December to review and make recommendations on the division of local authority areas outside Dublin and to report within six months.
For the purpose of the review, any recommended changes were made on the basis of the population as ascertained in Census 2016. However, there was to be no change in the total membership of each local authority as per the Local Government Reform Act 2014.
With regard to County Clare, the report recommends 28 local authority members in four Municipal Districts, comprising of five local electoral areas.
It is noted that the population of Clare increased by 1.4% in Census 2016 to 118,817.
The largest settlement is the town of Ennis with a population of 25,276, 21.3% of the total population. Other larger towns are Shannon, Kilrush, Sixmilebridge, Newmarket-on-Fergus and Killaloe.
Ennis Municipal District comprises a total population of 30,910, Shannon MD has 30,397, Kilrush 20,994, Killaloe 20,108 and Ennistymon 16,408.
The committee has recommended that Shannon MD be increased from 6 to 7 members, Ennis will be reduced from 8 to 7 members. Killaloe will also be reduced from 6 to 5 members.
West Clare Municipal District should be divided into two local electoral areas, Ennistymon and Kilrush with increased representation from 8 to 9 comprising of 5 councillors in Kilrush and 4 in Ennistymon.