Hogan calls on Martin to withdraw 'gerrymandering' remarks

Environment Minister Phil Hogan

Environment Minister Phil Hogan is reiterating calls for the Fianna Fáil leader to withdraw the remarks he made over the weekend on the report by the Independent Committee into the review of Local Electoral Areas.

At his party's Ard Fheis, Micheál Martin accused Phil Hogan of "gerrymandering" by deliberately manipulating new council election boundaries.

“The manner in which the boundaries of the local councils were changed for this election probably represents the largest gerrymandering of the last 35 years, since independent boundaries commissions were established," the Fianna Fáil leader told over 3,000 delegates gathered in Killarney.

“I think the terms of reference were clearly designed to give extra seats where it matters to Labour and Fine Gael to preserve their seats as much as possible — it’s a good old-fashioned gerrymander.”

Describing the comments as a "cheap political stunt," Minister Hogan said they came from "the leader of the party that invented and then went on to major in gerrymandering".

However Fianna Fáil is standing by its claims with Mr Martin refusing to apologise.

“Deputy Martin chose to discredit the report even though it was published more than nine months ago," Minister Hogan said in a statement issued today,

Deputy Martin should withdraw his comments and apologise to the Independent Committee, he added.

“Deputy Martin’s timing is impeccable. He chooses to attempt to discredit the report now even though it was published more than nine months ago," the statement said.

"There hasn’t been a peep out of him since and now as we approach the local elections he makes this outrageous comment.

"This is political cronyism at its worst and Deputy Martin should hang his head in shame. It smacks of desperation in advance of the local elections” said the Minister.

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