Sinn Féin has condemned Government plans to ‘discriminate’ against the Mayo Gaeltacht in proposed elections to the Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
Sinn Fein TD Rose Conway Walsh said the plans will the county with only one seat – half what it had in the 2005 elections – and no representation at all for the West Mayo Gaeltacht.
“Mayo’s seat allocation looks set to drop from the two elected reps the county had in 2005 to just one in next year’s elections, while Ministerial appointees will double from 3 in 2005 to 6, giving them the lion’s share of seats in what was intended to be a democratic assembly representing the community.
This begs the question: will the new Board represent Gaeltacht communities, or represent the Minister? Despite having 10% of the overall Gaeltacht population, Mayo would have only 6% of the seats, to make way for Ministerial appointees,” said Deputy Conway Walsh.
The Erris TD said the West Mayo Gaeltacht in particular, will lose out.
“The injustice is especially evident for the West Mayo Gaeltacht around Achill Island, which is totally separated geographically from the rest of Mayo’s Gaeltacht. North Mayo, which covers Iorras and Ceathrú Thaidhg, has a much larger population (7,199) which would dominate in elections for Mayo’s one seat. This would leave West Mayo with possibly no representation despite having a population of 2,141, which is bigger than the Gaeltacht communities in Waterford (1,816) and Meath (1,857) who would have one seat each.
“We have yet to have any clarity on Tuar Mhic Éadaigh and the South Mayo Gaeltacht, whether it will be lumped in with other parts of Mayo with which it would have little connection and little say, or form part of a constituency with its neighbours in Cor na Móna and the Joyce Country Gaeltacht community. In fact, as part of his work on this, my colleague and Sinn Féin Gaeilge and Gaeltacht spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh discovered that the area around Lough Mask is already being counted statistically as part of the Galway Gaeltacht, even by Mayo County Council, which has shockingly been underreporting Mayo’s overall Gaeltacht population by over 10%, a matter which he has raised with the Central Statistics Office.”