NI Boundary Commission: Major shake up in Upper Bann, Lagan Valley and Newry and Armagh will see boundaries redrawn
With Upper Bann exceeding the electoral quota limit of 77,062, the new NI Boundaries Commission is working to move some of the districts into other parliamentary constituencies.
In its 2023 Review, it has ruled that each constituency must have an electorate of no less than 69,724 and no more than 77,062.
Currently, Upper Bann has an electorate of 83,028; Lagan Valley has an electorate of 75,884 and Newry and Armagh an electroate of 81,329
Across NI, East Antrim has the smallest electorate at 64,907, and Upper Bann has the largest electorate at 83,028.
The NI Boundaries Commission has proposed a new constituency of Upper Bann with an electorate of 74,979 which will mean moving 8,049 current voters into other constituencies.
The Commission report states: “The existing constituency of Upper Bann has an electorate of 83,028, which is above the statutory range.
“It is limited in where it can shed electorate to, given special geographical considerations (in particular, Lough Neagh at the constituency’s northern boundary, and the location of built-up areas) and the above-range electorates in the adjacent constituencies of South Down and Newry & Armagh.
“That being so, the following split wards have been aligned within other adjacent constituencies (within which they were already partially located): Ballinderry (within Lagan Valley) and Loughbrickland (within South Down, which can look to under-range Strangford to shed electorate).
“In addition, the whole wards of Aghagallon and Magheralin have been transferred from Upper Bann into the adjacent constituency of Lagan Valley.
“Having considered the need to satisfy the statutory range in each constituency, and a balancing of factors (in particular, being mindful of undue disruption to existing constituency boundaries, the location of built-up areas, and shape of constituencies), the following split wards have been aligned within Upper Bann (in which they are already partially located): Banbridge East, Donaghcloney, Mahon, and The Birches.”
Meanwhile in Lagan Valley, their electorate of 75,884 is within the limit but would exceed the limit with the inclusion of Aghagallon and Magheralin.
To counteract that , the proposal is for the following split wards have been aligned within other adjacent constituencies (within which they are already partially located): Belvoir (within Belfast South), Dunmurry, Derryaghy (within Belfast West), Stonyford (within South Antrim), Ballyward, Gransha (within South Down) and Donaghcloney (within Upper Bann). In order to help satisfy the statutory electorate range, the whole ward of Drumbo has been transferred from Lagan Valley into Belfast South constituency.
The split wards of Ballinderry and Dromara have been aligned within Lagan Valley (in which they are already partially located).
Newry and Armagh currently has a constituency of 81,329 but the electorate proposed by the Commission would be 74,585.
The proposal is to realign the ward of Loughgall (which is split between Fermanagh & South Tyrone and Newry & Armagh) with Fermanagh & South Tyrone. The whole ward of Blackwatertown has also been transferred from Newry & Armagh into Fermanagh & South Tyrone constituency.
The following split wards have been aligned within Newry and Armagh (within which they were already partially located): Abbey, Damolly and St Patrick’s.
The following split wards have been aligned within South Down: Derryleckagh, Loughbrickland, Mayobridge.
Considering in particular the location of built-up areas around Portadown, the ward of Mahon (which is currently split between Newry & Armagh and Upper Bann) has been aligned within Upper Bann.
Already concerns have been raised about some of the proposals with nationalists in the Upper Bann constituency particularly concerned about some of the realignments.
For full details on the proposals, check out The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland website on www.boundarycommission.org.uk/
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