Thousands of nationalist voters will be left without any representation if controversial electoral boundary changes are not stopped, Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd has said.
John O’Dowd was speaking as Sinn Féin prepare to submit a formal submission to the Boundary Commission consultation on the proposed new electoral boundaries.
He said: “If these boundary changes go ahead, at least four Assembly constituencies will be left without any nationalist representation whatsoever. The views of thousands of nationalist voters will effectively count for nothing and electoral boundaries at every level will be manipulated to give maximum advantage to the DUP.
“That is completely unacceptable and it is easy to see why many people are calling this a gerrymander for the 21st Century.
“The Boundary Commission 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.
“They published proposals in 2016 which went some way to achieving that. However, these were radically revised in the face of DUP opposition and nobody could argue that the new plan represents fairness, given that it so blatantly advantages the DUP at the expense of the nationalist electorate.
“Sinn Féin will be submitting our proposals to the Commission which set out a fair and equitable way forward in line with accepted good practice and the Commission’s own remit. We would urge members of the public to also make submissions and demand fairness in the electoral process.
“There can be no return to the gerrymandering of the past. All votes should be equal and all citizens should be entitled to democratic representation.”