Up to 20 members of the Irish parliament face losing their jobs after the next General Election, currently scheduled for 2016.
The recently elected Fine Gael-Labor Party coalition government has approved plans to cut the number of sitting members (TDs) of the house.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said the current parliament population in Dail Eireann could be cut from 166 to 146 TDs under the proposals.
The cabinet has approved Hogan’s plan to have one TD elected for every 30,000 Irish citizens compared to a current average of one TD for every 25,000.
The Minister will now change the terms of reference for the Constituency Commission which is to be established in June after the preliminary results of the 2011 census are published.
The Commission has the power to decide on the number of TDs within a maximum and minimum band set by the Government.
“The terms of reference will be altered to allow for a significant reduction in the number of TDs,” confirmed Minister Hogan.
Fine Gael’s recent General Election manifesto provided for a reduction of 20 TDs to 146.
The Government is also to introduce a six-month time limit for holding by-elections for parliament under an Electoral Amendment Bill.
“This is in response to the farcical situation that developed in the last Dáil, where the government delayed the holding of three by-elections for many months,” said Minister Hogan.
Candidates in the forthcoming Presidential election will have their legal spending limit cut almost in half to just over $1million.