DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland will gain one, and possibly a second, seat during the next term of the European Parliament.
With European Parliament elections to be held in May 2024, the parliament's constitutional committee is reviewing proposals to increase the number of representatives allocated to smaller countries, including Ireland.
Ireland currently has 13 representatives in the European Parliament. The 14th will likely represent the Midlands-North-West constituency.
Proposals by the constitutional committee must be approved by the entire European Parliament. However, officials have been assured that Ireland will receive at least one additional seat.
"It is very welcome to see smaller EU countries increasing their representation in the Parliament, where EU laws that directly affect people in Ireland, are shaped," said Irish MEP Sean Kelly, of the European People's Party, as quoted by RTE.
"We could be looking at Ireland gaining two additional MEPs next term - that is positive news and we support that proposal."
However, Fianna Fail member of the European Parliament for Dublin, Barry Andrews, told RTE, "If we optimized the 13 we have, it would go a long way to increasing Ireland's voice and influence in the European parliament."
Also expected to gain a seat in parliament are Austria, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Latvia.
The European Parliament has 705 representatives, and by its own rules can increase its numbers to 750, plus the President.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail Senator Malcolm Byrne praised the parliament's transnational list system, noting, "I think this has real merit, as it will help ensure that European Parliament elections are contested at least partly on issues affecting the whole of Europe, rather than just predominantly on domestic issues, as is the case at present," as reported by Reuters.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Electoral Commission's final report, based upon findings in the most recent census, will be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas no later than 30 August.