Major rethink over Dungiven boundary plans

Dungiven's Main Street. DER0518GS045Dungiven's Main Street. DER0518GS045
Dungiven's Main Street. DER0518GS045
Dungiven will no longer be split between three different parliamentary constituencies under final recommendations published by the Boundary Commission.

Following a review, the Commission has now set out its final plans for the 17 new parliamentary constituencies for Northern Ireland.

In a report issued this week, the Boundaries Commission revealed that Dungiven had prompted the highest volume of responses of any issue in relation to earlier revised proposals.

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This included 4,751 people signing an online petition and a “comparable number” signing letters circulated in the community.

“They objected to the town being split across three proposed constituencies (West Tyrone, Mid Ulster and Causeway),” the Boundary Commission’s new report states, adding: “We accept that this is an arguable point and acknowledge the weight of public support for it.

“We have considered various options, including those proposed by respondents. Some of these would require ward splitting, which the Commission will consider only in exceptional circumstances.

“The Commission is not persuaded that this localised issue is sufficient to justify departing from our established principle of preserving the integrity of ward boundaries. However, a compromise solution is possible which would not require any wards to be split, namely to transfer Dungiven ward from Mid Ulster to Sperrin.”

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Commenting on the final recommendations, Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for NI, Madam Justice Denise McBride DBE, QC, said: “The Boundary Commission has determined its Final Recommendations after careful consideration of all the evidence collected during three stages of open and transparent public consultation.

“The Commission is grateful to all those who took the time and trouble to respond. We have sought, where possible, to try to accommodate the wide range of views and proposals presented whilst remaining within the constraint of the statutory criteria imposed upon the 2018 review.”

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