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Belfast Resident seeking leave of the High Court to challenge controversial Boundary Commission Proposals.

Re: Belfast Resident seeking leave of the High Court to challenge controversial Boundary Commission Proposals.

Our client, Mr Patrick Lynch, has issued Judicial Review proceedings in relation to proposals put forward by the Boundary Commission to re-draw the electoral boundaries of the North of Ireland. Mr Lynch is challenging the adoption by the Boundary Commission of proposals put forward by the DUP which he argues are prejudicial to the Nationalist population.

The Judicial Review leave hearing is scheduled to be heard on Thursday, January 10, at the High Court in Belfast.

Background

The Boundary Commission published provisional proposals in September 2016. These proposals had emanated from a boundary commission review that was established in 2016 with a remit to reduce the number of constituencies from 18 to 17 and to distribute the electorate in a fair and equitable way across the new constituencies.

The Commission invited feedback from various political parties and the public as to the adequacy of these proposals. The DUP submitted that the report was wholly inadequate and pressed for its revision making a number of points as to how the report should be changed.

Following submissions made to the Boundary Commission by the DUP there was a revised report released in January 2018 which made a number of changes to the original proposals.

This revised report was finalised in September 2018 and provided to the British Government to present before Parliament.

Eoin Murphy of O’Muirigh Solicitors comments:

“It is arguable that the net effect of these revised proposals, which largely seem to be a wholesale adoption of recommendations put forward by the DUP, could be prejudicial to the Nationalist population.

“By re-drawing the boundaries along lines which fundamentally favour the DUP, the Boundary Commission has failed to act in line with the Northern Ireland Act 1998 which requires them to take into account the need for community (i.e. political and religious) equality.

“The Commissioners first proposals in 2016 would have rendered a largely neutral impact on the candidates from parties returned. The need for community balance and equality has not been properly considered in the revised proposals and as such our client, Mr Lynch has taken this case to have this matter judicially scrutinized.

“This is a matter of high public importance touching on constitutional issues which, if allowed to stand, could severely undermine public confidence in the democratic process here.”

O’Muirigh Solicitors

8th January 2019

END