the point of multi seat constituencies is to provide the electorate with a choice not alone of party but of personnel. It is in effect a potential instant primary system. However political parties don’t see it like that and tend towards running the minimal slate of candidates because they are currently fearful of using it as such because of the effect of transfers on the number of seats they get.
What if that problem was to be corrected by the allocation of the total number of seats in the Dail on the basis of your share of national 1st preferences and not on the basis of PR_STV but that PR-STV was instead used at the constituency level to decide who would elected.
Leaving aside the idea of reducing the size of the Dail itself as it complicates the illustration I’m using below.
We would, in this system, have 123 of the existing 166 TDs getting elected by from the multi-seat constituencies as at present but once the counts have completed the remaining 43 of 166 seats would be allotted to the parties, smallest first, on the basis of which of their candidates had the highest number of votes before being eliminated or perhaps not even eliminated but simply not elected (the last man standing scenario). It would be proportionate to the national vote received yet also ensure that the public were the ones deciding who was getting elected and not some closed insider type party list system. And it wouldn’t hurt parties if they ran 8 candidates in a 5 seater which would mean more choice for the voters. And they would have an incentive to run as many diverse candidates as they liked as it wouldn’t hurt them in the transfer stakes but rather would help them by boosting them national vote yield.