One Man One Vote… Err… Not In Belfast

Unionist votes are worth more than Nationalist votes, all thanks to 6 men staring down a hole! Just look at the following distribution though Belfast’s current District Electoral Areas:

Victoria has an electorate of 25,814 and has 7 seats
Oldpark has an electorate of 22,408 and has 6 seats
Upper Falls has an electorate of 20,530 and only has 5 seats
Pottinger has an electorate of 19,929 and has 6 seats
Castle has an electorate of 19,494 and also has 6 seats
Balmoral has an electorate of 18,752 and has 6 seats
Lower Falls has an electorate of 17,238 and has 5 seats
Laganbank has an electorate of 16,314 and has 5 seats

Court only has an electorate of 13,455 and yet has 5 seats

The number of seats in a particular District Electoral Area (or DEA) depend on the number of wards allocated to that DEA so if it has 5 wards it gets 5 seats or 7 wards like Victoria it gets 7 seats.

Neither the Electoral commission nor the Electoral offices have anything to do with the allocation of wards and it’s not even the Boundary commission either.

It is, believe it or not, the responsibility of a section of that mind-bogglingly bureaucratic, mind numbingly unaccountable, and mind blowingly ineffective, Civil Service that we all love. In particular it’s that fantastically inept old institution better known, amongst other names, as the DOE

There was a District Electoral Area Commissioner appointed in 2007 but can’t or won’t come into effect until after the council restructuring from 26 to 11 when the DOE will redraw the council boundaries.

It is highly unlikely that the council changes will take effect before 2015 at the earliest and probably closer to 2018 yet all the while Unionists are over represented on Belfast City Council and thus have extra votes in chamber on decisions that directly affect Nationalist areas of the City.

The demographics of Belfast has changed enormously in the last 5 years alone, in the last ten years the changes to the demographics can only be described as massive, in the last 15 years the changes have been almost unreal, so could one of the six men usually found in the middle of a road staring down a hole please explain why there hasn’t been a review of wards for 20 years… that’s right twenty years.

The pragmatic person could argue that it is the hard working ethos of the Nationalist councillors that means that the Upper Falls councillors are expected to represent 4106 voters while their counterparts in Court only have to represent 2691.

A more cynical mind would say that the issue has always been ignored by the community that benefitted most from it, as in effect it gave Unionist between 6-7 extra seats on Belfast City council that cannot be justified by any rationale other than deliberate gerrymandering of the Belfast Council, 2011 and we’re still seeing deliberate or unchallenged gerrymandering, now that is a scandal on all our heads.

The Court DEA should take the Ballysillan ward from the Oldpark DEA and amalgamate it with Glencairn bringing the Courts D.E.A electorate up to 17,155 and keeping the 5 seats.

Oldpark should lose a seat with the Ballysillan ward removed thus it would have 5 seats for a new electorate of 18,700

The Pottinger D.E.A should amalgamate 2 of its wards and thus reduce its seats to 5

The Balmoral D.E.A likewise and reduce its seats to 5

The Castle D.E.A likewise and reduce its seats to 5

The Victoria D.E.A likewise and reduce its seats to 5

The Laganbank D.E.A likewise and reduce its seats to 6

This will save the Belfast Rate-payer £60,000 a year in appearance money alone for these needless extra councillors, Unionists would lose 4 seats and Nationalists 3 seats but Nationalists would be compensated with an extra seat in Oldpark with the reduced unionist vote due to the absence of the Ballysillan ward..

However it was the massive change in demographics in the last twenty years that has reduced the cushy 6-7 extra seat “Brucie bonus” that was unjustifiably gifted to Unionist controlled D.E.A’s not any sense of fairness by any government body or pressurising from the Nationalist parties who for decades have turned a blind eye to this very visible injustice.

If the Nationalist representative of Upper Falls can provide the service to the electorate for the last twenty years without criticism or concern from the rest of the councillors in the Belfast City hall that there wasn’t enough of them, then surely it goes without saying that the rest of the District Electoral Areas can do the same.

Unless, of course, a problem arises because Unionists can’t work as hard as Nationalist!

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  • ayeYerMa

    It’s time to stop this sectarian way of thinking in terms of “unionist” and “nationalist”. Polar opposites that don’t describe our identities at all.

  • Joe Bloggs

    One councillor per 3,687 people in Unionist Victoria compared to one per 3,447 in Nationalist Lower Falls.

    Disgraceful!

  • joeCanuck

    Those 6 men were singing “Happy Birthday” to the hole.

  • oracle

    So just best to ignore the 5 councillors for court with 13,455 electorate then Joe Bloggs

    For twenty years or more Court/Pottinger/Castle/Oldpark/Victoria/Balmoral have been over represented on Belfast City Council that whether you have an appetite for it or not is Gerrymandering

  • SethS

    A quick and dirty analysis of the average vote needed to elect a candidate for each party suggests the following:

    3601.62 SF
    3462.12 All
    3414.19 SDLP
    3354.01 UUP
    3297.07 DUP
    3125.33 Ind
    3006.25 PUP

    Make of that what you will.
    Hard to know if this is deliberate gerrymandering or just the usual incompetence matched with large population changes. One would assume some kind of evening out with the new constituencies – or least one would assume that parties would make a fuss about it.

  • SethS

    Sorry I meant to say “average electorate per candidate elected”

  • Dewi

    Wouldn’t mind an evening out in South Belfast Seth…

  • SethS

    On top of that average electorate per seat throughout Belfast is 3410.47, making lower falls the most accuratley representative area. Upper falls is definitely one short and Court one too many on the current seats per area.

    That said I support the principle that electoral areaas should be roughly equal. The current average electroate per seat is:

    Balmoral 3125.33
    Castle 3249.00
    Court 2691.00
    Laganbank 3262.80
    Lower Falls 3447.60
    Oldpark 3734.67
    Pottinger 3321.50
    Upper Falls 4106.00
    Victoria 3687.71

  • Cynic2

    Why don’t we just abolish the Councils. Why do we need councils and an assembly?

  • JR

    I am not saying I disagree with you but, could any of that be down to a higher turnout in Nationalist areas? ie if every ward had 10,000 people, it would take more votes to get elected in a ward with 60% turnout than one with 50% turnout. The census would give a more accurate picture of the overall repersentation than votes to get elected.

  • joeCanuck

    Cynic 2,
    Councillors are closer to the public. If it was either or, I would abolish the Assembly and have fewer councils.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Oracle, have the plans for the 60 new Belfast wards sitting in front of me, with an average of 3,173 voters, as per Nov. 2008, as these won’t actually be used untill 2015, a review is needed before they are even implemented.

    Of course it is also a major gerrymander of another sort, don’t tell me Dundonald, Carryduff, Hollywood, Newtownabbey etc. aren’t part of the Urban area, apparently having more in common with Dromara, Glenavy, Portaferry, Toome, etc.

    Possibly of equal if not more importance, these out of date boundaries are possibly forming the basis for the new 16 constituencies, what sort of mess will this lead too? RPA even if just a minial shake up must go ahead ASAP.

  • JR

    I wouldn’t like to be drawing new boundries. In areas with a 50/50 split you could literally decide how many Nationalists and Unionists you want on the council and draw the boundries accordingly.

  • lamhdearg

    take one from court give it to upper falls, sorted. But i am with cynic 2 on this, scrap all councils,add 2 seats to each assembly constituency and run the place from stormont, we have far to many people governing us.

  • USA

    Very good work Oracle.

    JR, it has nothing to do with the turnout. As Oracle pointed out at the top of the piece the figures are based on the electorate in each Belfast ward. I have checked and his figures are correct, at least for the 13,445 voters in the Court Ward.

    The Court ward is 94% unionist, and has an electorate of 13,455 and yet has 5 seats, while Lower Falls has an electorate of 17,238 and has 5 seats. The matter is compounded when Upper Falls has an electorate of 20,530 and only has 5 seats. While Pottinger (East Belfast – Unionist) has fewer voters than Upper Falls yet gets more seats.
    Good contribution Oracle, good work. I was looking at the same data myself on Monday and didn’t notice this..

  • Mike the First

    Is is just me, or is the “six men staring down a hole” reference completely mystifying?

  • USA

    Mike, I think it means the six men are doing nothing except “looking down a hole”. It seems to be a criticism of the civil service who probably should be aware to electoral issues such as equal representation.

  • lamhdearg

    Most of the people of the court ward have no one to represent them at westminster and as they are mainly in the west belfast constituency, this also has them represented at assembly level by irish nats only( some are in north belfast i think) maybe letting them elect to council level an extra someone of their choice is a forgivable sop. Would removing a seat from pottinger “unionist” (usa) not up the quota and cost s.f. their seat?, and if so is the basis of this post not called into question.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    At the polling station where I voted one of the electoral officers was wearing a red blouse, another had a blue coloured bangle on her wrist and the room walls were white! What chance do Nationalists have in this ‘unionist’ process?

  • joeCanuck

    But, Mike and USA, typically there would have been 1 man in the hole actually working and usually only about 4 looking on. Been there, done that.

  • RyanAdams

    So long as the population have the free will to move about, there will always be under/over representation. However, I think its more prominent in constituencies used to elect MP/MLA’s. Each constituency has six seats;

    East Belfast; 60687 Upper Bann; 77035

    And a Boundary commissioner looked at this as recently as 3 years …

  • Cynic2

    ” Councillors are closer to the Public”

    …but how close do they need to be and at what cost? We are only 1.5 m and most of us are related to each other!

  • oracle

    Lamhdearg,

    No the nationalists have enough votes in Pottinger to hold a seat while the turnout is less than 65% and eeven then it would take perfect transferring between Unionists.

    However even if they didn’t it does not call the basis of the post into question because the Pottinger electorate are over representented as are Castle Victoria Oldpark Court and Balmoral if you are prepared to state that they are not over represented and have been over represented for 20+ years then you are agreeing with me that Upper Falls has deliberately discriminated against for 20+ years.

  • oracle

    Has Sinn Fein or the SDLP ever raised this issue before if not why not?
    Surely they weren’t blind to a discrepancy affecting the Upper Falls District Electoral Area for twenty years?
    Will someone from the SDLP or SF comment?

  • oracle

    If it’s an over representation in mainly unionist areas then that is discrimination pure and simple.
    If some wish to portray it as some sort of accidental oversight that lasted 20 years and Upper-falls has been under represented without malice then that posses two lines of interest.

    1) If any documentation exists from Nationalist parties or concerned individuals raising the subject then the oversight argument is destroyed.

    2) If Upper-Falls is under represented then a judicial review if launched by Erigi would almost certainly result in a seat for McCotter in Upper Falls or a re-election for the entire ward.

  • joe blogs jr

    “It is, believe it or not, the responsibility of a section of that mind-bogglingly bureaucratic, mind numbingly unaccountable, and mind blowingly ineffective, Civil Service that we all love. In particular it’s that fantastically inept old institution better known, amongst other names, as the DOE”

    Inept and old it may be, but DOE is not guilty as charged. In fact, District Electoral Areas are set by the Westminister Parliament. It’s the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who appoints an independent District Electoral Area Commossioner to draw up recommendations, which the Secretary of State then brings before Parliament. So if you want to blame anyone, blame that venerable old lady, the NIO or, even better, the Mother of all Parliaments.

  • Valenciano

    “However even if they didn’t it does not call the basis of the post into question because the Pottinger electorate are over representented as are Castle Victoria Oldpark Court and Balmoral if you are prepared to state that they are not over represented and have been over represented for 20+ years”
    ===========================

    I’m more than prepared to state that and the figures would back me up. In a 51 member council here’s the number of wards each electoral area should have based on population.

    victoria 7.57
    oldpark 6.57
    upper falls 6.02
    pottinger 5.84
    castle 5.72
    balmoral 5.50
    lower falls 5.05
    laganbank 4.78
    court 3.95

    It’s impossible so see how you can conclude from that that Victoria or Pottinger (DEAs which elect mainly Unionists) are over represented let alone Oldpark, which if anything along with Victoria is underrepresented.

    The 20 year claim doesn’t cut it either. Here are the figures from 1993 when the DEAs were first contested.

    victoria 7.30
    oldpark 6.39
    upper falls 5.42
    pottinger 5.98
    castle 5.62
    balmoral 5.82
    lower falls 4.92
    laganbank 4.92
    court 4.63

    Upper Falls and Court were both entitled to 5 members then rounding up or down and the figures were even closer when they were first drawn. Court was due about 4.8 councillors on 1991 for example. So what has happened here is demographic change, not any grand conspiracy.

  • Valenciano

    Further, your assumption that any boundary change would help Nationalists, isn’t a given. Court isn’t the only place that’s over-represented: South Belfast is too.

    If you were having a fair redrawing then you’d move New Lodge into Court (why Ballysillan which doesn’t even share a boundary with Court?!) with Oldpark losing a bit also to Castle to make up the numbers there. That would result in a PUP loss in North Belfast.

    Upper Falls gains a ward, with Eirigi or Sinn Fein taking that.

    Balmoral has to make up the numbers by gaining about 1800 voters. Sandy Row is the logical place and is indeed what the commission themselves have suggested in the 60 seat model. The addition of those voters tilts the balance back to Unionists who’d likely gain a seat from Nationalists. End result: no change in the sectarian balance.

  • USA

    Lamdearg,
    “and cost s.f. their seat?, and if so is the basis of this post not called into question.”

    No it does not call the post into question for it is not about SF and their councilors, it’s about ensuring the electoral wards are as close to parity as we can get. The results shown by Oracle certainly suggest to me that the DOE did not do a good job. I wonder why the political parties did not raise this matter sooner.

  • USA

    Valenciano,

    I can certainly accept your proposition that it is due to demographics and not a grand conspiracy. However if the matter has been brewing since 1993, then the NIO (or whomever) were asleep at the wheel at this means the issue has been steadily getting worse for the last 18 years?

    I would also like to hear what the political parties have to say about it.

  • Drumlins Rock

    USA, as I said before the whole thing is tied up in the RPA reforms of local councils, one can’t proceed till the other happens.

  • Valenciano

    USA, Larne’s a good example of how it can work the other way. Larne Lough where Nationalists don’t even stand, has one councillor too few, costing the DUP a seat, while Larne Town, which has one councillor too many, elects the SDLP to the fifth and last seat. Nationalist overrepresentation at the expense of Unionists.

    The whole system is stupid anyway. Why do we even have wards at all? They have no purpose. The only reason they exist is that originally in the early 70s each was supposed to elect one councillor by first past the post. The government then reintroduced STV and rather than draw boundaries again, as an ad hoc time saving measure they decided to use the wards they’d already drawn as building blocks. Made sense then, but for some reason they’ve continued to do it that way, with the unnecessary middle step of drawing wards with equal electorates then adding them together to form DEAs. Why not just draw DEAs in the first place?

    Demographic information is available at a lower level at the census output areas. Why not just keep the boundaries of them the same and use them instead as building blocks for DEAs and parliamentary seats? If they did it that way, they could simply keep the DEA boundaries the same in most cases and simply adjust the numbers of councillors that each elects at every election. As well as being more democratic, that would also save a lot of time of money. Instead we’re stuck with outdated ward boundaries until 2016 by which time they’ll all be a quarter of a century old, with all the imbalances in representation that that causes.

  • RyanAdams

    I think this was the reason the DUP minister stopped the RPA. It was blatently obvious that drawing the boundaries again more fairly would tip the balance of Belfast City Council.

    Now we have an SDLP minster in charge here, is the RPA likely to go forward?

  • oracle

    Valenciano,

    When the review was last carried out in the early 90s the DOE/NIO at the time had all the relevant information required to come to an honest and fair decision on the future DEA’s in Belfast,
    Remember they had electorate counts for each area over many, many elections and could see the population trends.
    Added to this the NIO also had relevant census statistics for the Belfast area with post codes, they would have seen the burgeoning young Nationalist population and the aging Unionist one.

    This has manifested itself it the wealthier members of the West Belfast populace migrating to more affluent surrounding areas such as Balmoral Castle Carryduff Rossetta and Stranmillis the less well off have sought affordable housing in Upper Ormeau the Four-Winds and satellite towns such as Glenavy and Crumlin so much so that the latter is nicknamed “Little Andytown”
    These were young families with parents in the late 20’s to early 40’s the homes they left were quickly snapped up by younger siblings, relatives or other couples indigenous to the area that were “double deckering” with parents.

    The NIO/DOE had all that information they needed, they also had the cold stark falling figures for Unionist areas and I believe they took a political decision at the time to maintain the Status Quo in Belfast for as long as possible. Remember this was only a few years after the massive Ulster says No rallies and the Anglo Irish Agreement.
    Obviously once this review was passed that safeguarded the Belfast Council Status Quo for at least 10 years if no one noticed but again the finger must be pointed at the SDLP and SF as this is happening on their watch in their district and yet the silence is deafening

  • Valenciano

    Oracle as I’ve said the process does need reform but I’ll still say that you’re seeing conspiracies where none exist.

    I’ve no clue what the relevance of young Nationalist families moving to Glenavy or Crumlin, areas outside Belfast, has to your claim that nationalists are hard done by electorally in Belfast. Doesn’t it completely contradict your claim of the “burgeoning” nationalist population of Belfast being discriminated against?

    I’ll repeat the points I’ve made to you above, which you’ve chosen to ignore

    1) The only “Unionist” area overrepresented is Court. Victoria, the only other Nationalist free DEA, deserves an extra councillor on current figures, so the two cancel each other out.

    2) On an overall redrawing of boundaries, Nationalists would lose a seat in south Belfast while gaining one in Upper Falls, therefore no change.

    3) Such discrepancies exist in other councils and to the benefit of Nationalists in Larne.

    To add to all that, the NIO/DOE doesn’t draw the boundaries for Belfast, it’s done by a boundary commission and they aren’t allowed to take future population trends into consideration.

    Also, the SDLP and Sinn Fein have 47% of the seats on less than 45% of the vote, so are therefore *overrepresented* relative to vote share. Of course you can chuck the tiny vote for Eirigi and the IRSPs into the mix but you still don’t reach 50% of the vote, so why should nationalists, who have a minority of the vote, control the council, which is what you seem to be arguing for?

    All of that is even before we even get down to the actual boundaries of Belfast city council. If you have a council which actually covers what is Belfast, then as well as Poleglass, Twinbrook and Lagmore, you have to add Rathcoole, Belvoir, Cregagh, Tullycarnet and probably Braniel and Dundonald as well. Such a council would almost certainly have had a Unionist majority.

    I’m sorry to blow your conspiracy theory out of the water but maybe the reason why Sinn Fein and the SDLP haven’t rocked the boat is that the current arrangements suit them as much as anyone?

  • oracle

    Valenciano,

    The boundry commission have absolutely nothing to do with it….
    They do parlimentary no Local, that’s the DOE/NIO and the DEA

  • Valenciano

    No, the DOE appoints someone to conduct an independent review. The person appointed in 1991 who carried out the review was a catholic, Maurice Hayes, who as well as serving as county secretary of Down GAA, served in Seanad Éireann from 1997-2007.

    I also missed the part of your post where you answered any of the points I raised.

    1) Why is it wrong for a “nationalist” area like Upper Falls to be under represented, but okay for a “unionist” area like Victoria to be under represented?
    2) Why is it wrong for unionists to be over represented in Court but okay for nationalists to be over represented in South Belfast?
    3) Why should Sinn Fein and the SDLP have a majority of the seats in Belfast when they have a minority of the vote?

    The problem here Oracle is that you’ve only looked at a tiny part of the picture. If you look at the overall picture the discrimination you perceive simply doesn’t exist, which means your argument collapses.

  • oracle

    Valenciano,

    I was kinda waiting for you to walk into that

    If an area is over represented then it’s over represented period and the over representation should be ceased with all haste by the relevant authorities.

    If the Upper-Falls DEA was not entitled to 6 seats in 1993 at the time of a review with an electorate of 22,155
    Then in 2011 the 6th seat should be removed from all DEA’s with 22155 or less

    Balmoral 18,752 should be reduced to 5
    Pottinger 19,929 should be reduced to 5
    Castle 19,494 should be reduced to 5

    Court 13,455 should be reduced to 4
    Victoria 25,814 should be reduced to 6

    So my argument stands correct Upper Falls is not under-represented but the other 5 wards are over represented, to let this continue for a shortened period is negligent by the relevant bodies and authorities but for this difference to exist for years is at best favouritism through neglect, at worst it’s discrimination through gerrymandering pure and simple.

    I couldn’t care less if Nationalist lost 20 seats in a rectifying review if they’re not entitled to them they’re not entitled to them hopefully that will make my position clear.
    Though how you can leap to the defense of something as blatantly wrong as this speaks volumes, this isn’t a weekend oversight the last review was 20 years ago!!! and they’re all fully aware of falling unionist electorates so the feet dragging has become more apparent from certain sections

  • Valenciano

    “If the Upper-Falls DEA was not entitled to 6 seats in 1993 at the time of a review with an electorate of 22,155
    Then in 2011 the 6th seat should be removed from all DEA’s with 22155 or less”

    ==================
    You’ve never heard of an apportionment quota have you? The number of councillors stays the same. The quota, or average number of voters per ward/DEA, changes. That’s how it’s done in virtually every legislature, council or assembly around the world.

    On the basis of a 51 member council Victoria is due an eighth seat so your continual complaining that it’s over represented is totally and demonstrably wrong and merely highlights your bias on this issue. Pottinger likewise is entitled to 5.84 wards, it gets six which is fair enough. Castle is entitled to 5.72, it also has six, which is fine rounding up. I kinda get the feeling here that you’re not even bothering to check your figures but are instead simply plucking them out of the air to support weak arguments.

    ===========================
    “I couldn’t care less if Nationalist lost 20 seats in a rectifying review”
    ===========================

    Not what you said in your original post. In fact there you made the following wild and inaccurate claim…

    ===========================
    “in effect it gave Unionist between 6-7 extra seats on Belfast City council”
    ===========================

    The whole thrust of your argument so far is that there’s a dastardly plan against the nationalists of Belfast. The argument contains a gaping hole in it big enough to drive a truck through and I’ll repeat it: how are nationalists, who have 47% of the seats on 45-47% of the vote, under represented?

  • oracle

    Valenciano,

    You wish to award an electoral area with an electorate of 25,814 (1 seat per 3687.71 voters) an 8th ward/seat (1 seat per 3226.72 voters)

    But at the same time keep another ward in the same city with an electorate of 20,530 with 5 wards/seats (1 seat per 4120 voters)

    That’s just complete nonsense

  • oracle

    Lets just get something else straight Valenciano while I’m at it… I couldn’t care if 20 Nationalists lost their seat in a review so long as the review is fair.. Got it!
    If Unionists were denied equality on Belfast City Council because Nationalist areas were over represented year in year out due to government inaction I’d complain about that also… if it’s wrong it’s wrong.. what part of that do you not understand

    Belfast is the jewel in the crown of NI Local government elections, if we can’t get Belfast fair what does that say about the rest of the elections in other councils.

    We have thousands of people employed by the NIO who are tasked withensuring equality and yet this problem has persisted for decades so what are we paying them for?

  • Valenciano

    “You wish to award an electoral area with an electorate of 25,814 (1 seat per 3687.71 voters) an 8th ward/seat (1 seat per 3226.72 voters) But at the same time keep another ward in the same city with an electorate of 20,530 with 5 wards/seats (1 seat per 4120 voters)”

    =============================
    Wrong.

    “On an overall redrawing of boundaries, Nationalists would lose a seat in south Belfast while gaining one in Upper Falls” (13 May@1058)

    “Upper Falls gains a ward” (12 May@1246)

    I agree with you on the mess created by the delay in updating the boundaries and it is a disgrace that local reps of all parties don’t get on the case with that. As I’ve said above there’s no need to have wards at all. Just have DEAs based on census output areas and adjust the number of councillors each elects at every local election. Saves a lot of time and money and means that any inbalances get corrected at each election.

  • Is it worth pointing out that the DOE has nothing to do with holes in the road and that is the responsibility of DRD?

    I think that retaining named wards within the DEAs is for historical reasons.

  • lamhdearg

    i have been away from thursday, sorry if it seemed i was backing out, Surly a working out of this awaits the results of the census, and as Drumlins rock points out “the whole thing is tied up in the RPA reforms of local councils, one can’t proceed till the other happens”.
    oracle (your post 13th 9.44) is it the job of the powers that be, to guess what will be, or is it to, work on what is.

  • The amalgamation of wards into DEAs produces odd results.

    For example, Pottinger in NOT in East Belfast. 4 of the wards are, the other two are in South Belfast. So the verification two weeks ago was held in both the Kings Hall and the Ards Leisure Centre.

    As for it being unionist – the first councillor elected with an amazing surplus was from Alliance, and the Green Party even got transfers from the TUV.

  • Valenciano

    Lamhdearg, it’s not connected with the census. The ward boundaries are connected with he number of people on the voting register, not the population. You could argue that it should be, but that’s yet another issue altogether.

  • lamhdearg

    valenciano
    in refering to the census, i only hope that it will tell us a little more about the breakdown of belfasts populition, then maybe we can tell if the make up of belfast city council is representative.