Councillors on all sides have expressed disappointment at the proposals contained in the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee Report 2013, published last Thursday.

Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Envir-onment, Community and Local Government, established the Boundary Committee in November 2012 to review and make recommendations on local electoral areas.

The minister in publishing the report announced that he has accepted in full the recommendations in the report and that he will be making the necessary local electoral area orders to give effect to these in due course.

The report for Limerick takes into account the amalgamation of Limerick county and city councils and proposes that the overall number of members be reduced from 45 to 40.

Councillors’ disappointment stems from the proposal to establish a metropolitan area of 100,000 people around Limerick city; to do this the committee have included large tracts of rural areas around Patrickswell, Clarina and Mungret. The newly created metropolitan area will return 21 of the 40 members, giving it notionally at least a majority and the power to push through measures that rural councillors feel could on occasion be to the detriment of rural areas. The 21 members will be returned from three electoral areas, Limerick City West, Limerick City North and Limerick City East.

The former electoral areas in the county have been reconfigured and the five electoral areas in the existing Limerick County Council are being reduced to three. Newcastle West has emerged from the recommendations almost unscathed, with just a few additions, most notably Glin at the western end, and will return six members. Castleconnell has been broken up and a sizeable part of that area will now form part of a new Kilmallock-Cappamore area, a sprawling tract of countryside extending from Glenstal to Kilbehenny which will return seven seats.

The third rural electoral area is Adare-Rathkeale, comprising part of the old Adare area and the existing Rathkeale area which has been extended to included a couple of areas from Kilmallock around Granagh and Banogue and a section of the old Castleconnell area of Ballybricken. Adare-Rathkeale will return six members to the amal-gamated local authority.

A very interesting couple of months are in store as the political parties adjust to the changed political landscape in County Limerick with the next local elections scheduled to take place in May 2014. (See page 36.)