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We will slash 20 TDs to reform Dail -- Hogan

THE Government has moved to fufil an election promise to reduce the number of TDs.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan unveiled plans to cut the number of Dail seats by up to 20.

The pledge had been a central plank of Fine Gael's political reform plan during the election campaign.

Labour Party TD for Dublin North Central Aodhan O Riordain today welcomed the move, saying it is "further evidence" the Government is "committed to real political reform".

"At a time when tens of thousands of Irish men and women have had to make significant sacrifices in their daily lives in order to cope with job loss or emigration, it is heartening to see politics changing as well," Mr O Riordain said.

In its election manifesto, Fine Gael proposed to slash the number of TDs by 20 -- from 166 to 146.

However, the Programme For Government agreed with the Labour Party made no reference to the size of the reduction.

The Government today published the Electoral Amendment Bill 2011 along with preliminary census results.

The terms of reference for a new constituency commission -- with guidelines as to the number of TDs in the next Dail -- were also published.

The Cabinet agreed the terms earlier this week.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said recently that the 32nd Dail formed after the next General Election could have up to 20 fewer TDs.

The commission has been given a range of reductions to consider. It is to be chaired by a High Court judge and its findings will be binding.


A final report from the commission will be submitted to the Government within three months of the final census results, which will be published in 2012.

Substantial chances are expected to be made to the country's 43 constituency boundaries.

The Programme for Government states: "The political system cannot ask others to change and make sacrifices if it is not prepared to do the same.

"We will significantly reduce the size of the Oireachtas by abolishing the Seanad, if the public approve in constitutional referendum, and we will reduce the number of TDs following the publication of the results of the 2011 census of population."

Mr O Riordain said of the proposals: "I believe this is further evidence that this coalition is committed to real political reform, unlike the previous administration who only paid lip service to the notion."