Laois-Offaly (Dáil Éireann constituency)

Laois-Offaly (formerly Leix-Offaly and Laoighis-Offaly) is a constituency represented in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament or Oireachtas. The constituency has an electorate of 95,373 and at present is served by 5 Teachtaí Dála (TDs). The method of election is the Single Transferable Vote.

It spans the entire area of County Laois (known before independence as Queen's County) and County Offaly (previously known as King's County). It includes the towns of Tullamore, Birr, Portarlington and Portlaoise.

One of the most high profile TDs in the constituency is Brian Cowen, the current Taoiseach. Another well known deputy from the area was Tom Parlon, a former president of the Irish Farmers Association and Minister of State.

Summary of seats won 1977–2007

1977 1981 1982F 1982N 1987 1989 1992 1997 2002 2007
Fianna Fáil 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Fine Gael 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 2
Labour 1
Progressive Democrats 1

2007 Election result

2002 Election result


Laois-Offaly is the oldest two-county constituency in Ireland, having been created under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, and used for the subsequent 1921 general election to the Second Dáil. It has been used at every subsequent general election.

The name of the constituency has been changed twice, to reflect different spellings of the name of County Laois:

  • At its creation in 1921, it was known as Leix-Offaly
  • In 1961, it was renamed Laoighis-Offaly
  • For the 2007 general election, it was renamed Laois-Offaly, which its current formal name.


1918–1921 : For the First Dáil (1919–1921), the Sinn Féin MPs elected in 1918 for the two single-member UK Parliament constituencies of King's County (UK Parliament constituency) and Queen's County (UK Parliament constituency) boycotted the British House of Commons and joined the revolutionary assembly in Dublin. In the Dáil the Queen's County constituency was known as Leix (as mentioned in the list of Deputies present read out in English on the second day of the session, and implied by the use of Co. Laoise in the Irish list used on the first day). King's County also seems to have been known by a different name. The Irish form used was Co. Uí Fáilghe, which seems close to the modern Irish language name for Offaly.1921-–923 : The two counties were combined in a single four-member constituency for the House of Commons of Southern Ireland. The Sinn Féin candidates elected unopposed preferred to sit in the Second Dáil (1921–1922). In the Dáil the Irish form of the constituency name was Co. Laoighise agus Co. O bhFáilghe. Leix and Offaly seem to be the versions used in English. The four-seat constituency was also used for the Third Dáil (1922–1923). In the Irish Free State the official name in English of the constituency was undoutedly Leix-Offaly (see the list of constituencies mentioned in the motion passed by the Second Dáil on 20 May, 1922 and the Electoral Act 1923 (No. 12/1923)).1923–1961 : The constituency was granted a fifth seat.1961–2007 : In the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1961 (No. 19/1961) the constituency was renamed Laoighis-Offaly, but was otherwise unchanged.2007– : Under the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2005 (No. 16/205) the official name of the constituency is Laois-Offaly, but is otherwise unchanged.

Former TDs

See also

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