About Local Elections
Local elections are held in Ireland every 5 years, in the month of May or June.
At the local elections, members of the public elect councillors to represent their community in local authorities.
The number of councillors elected to Dublin City Council is 63. The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage sets the polling date which is the same day in all of the local authority areas across Ireland. The polling period must last at least 12 hours between 7.00am and 10.30pm.
A Returning Officer is appointment in each local authority and is responsible for managing the election in their area. Each local authority pays the cost of running their own election.
The local elections were last held on Friday 24 May, 2019. The next local elections are due to be held in May or June 2024.
Dublin City Council is divided into 11 Local Electoral Areas and members of local authorities are elected in these. Local electoral areas and the number of members to be elected in each are specified in a statutory instrument for each local authority area. These were most recently made in 2018.
Eligibility For Election to a Local Authority
- (a) Every Irish citizen and every person ordinarily resident in the State who has reached the age of 18 and who is not subject to any of the disqualifications outlined in paragraph (b) below, is eligible for election;
- (b) A person is disqualified for election to a local authority if he/she -
- is a member of the Commission of the European Communities, or
- is a member of the European Parliament, or
- is a Judge, Advocate General or Registrar of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, or
- is a member of the Court of Auditors of the European Communities, or
- is a member of Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann, or
- is appointed under the Constitution as a Judge or as the Comptroller and Auditor General, or
- is a member of the Garda Síochána, or
- is a full time member of the Defence Forces, or
- is a civil servant who is not by the terms of his or her employment expressly permitted to be a member of a local authority, or
- is a person employed by a local authority and is not the holder of a class, description or grade of employment designated by order under section 161(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 2001, or
- is a person employed by the Health Service Executive and is at a grade or of a description of employment designated by order of the Minister for Health and Children, or
- is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment for any term exceeding 6 months imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in the State, or
- fails to pay any sum or any portion of any sum charged or surcharged by an auditor of the accounts of any local authority upon or against that person, or
- fails to comply with a final judgement, order or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, for payment of money due to a local authority, or
- is convicted of, or has had a conviction confirmed on appeal for, an offence relating to fraudulent or dishonest dealings affecting a local authority or corrupt practice or acting when disqualified.
(Local Government Act 2001, as amended – sections 13 and 13A). A person in any of the categories listed above is also disqualified from nomination for election (Local Government Act 2001 – section 2(4))
A candidate may nominate himself or herself or may, with the candidate’s consent, be nominated by a proposer. A proposer must be registered as a local government elector in the local electoral area of the local authority for which he or she proposes to nominate the candidate.
A candidate may include in their nomination paper the name of the political party, registered in the Register of Political Parties, of which they are a candidate, provided a certificate in the specified form authenticating their candidature is produced at the time the nomination paper is delivered.
A non-party candidate at a local election (i.e. who is not in possession of a certificate of political affiliation authenticating the candidature of a candidate on behalf of a political party registered in the Register of Political Parties), must comply with one or other of the following procedures before the expiration of the time for receiving nominations:
- (i) completion of statutory declarations by 15 assenters registered as local electors in the electoral area concerned which must be witnessed by a Commissioner for Oaths, a Peace Commissioner, a Notary Public, a member of the Garda Síochána or an official of the registration authority,
- (ii) the candidate, or someone on his or her behalf, lodging a deposit of €100 with the Returning Officer
Expenditure and Donations
The Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999 provides for an expenditure and donations disclosure regime at local elections. These guidelines are concerned with the statutory obligations for candidates, national agents, designated persons and persons unconnected to a political party or candidate (third parties) at the forthcoming local elections and are issued pursuant to section 18(6) of the Act.
For the 2019 Local Elections candidates, national agents and designated persons of political parties, and third parties must submit to Dublin City Council a statement of all election expenses incurred, and a statutory declaration to the effect that to the best of their knowledge the statement is correct and that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure its accuracy. Election spending incurred between March 30th, 2019 and polling day on May 24rd 2019 (inclusive), must be included on the declaration form submitted. For the 2019 local elections, spending limits will apply to electoral expenditure by candidates and political parties. Each candidate of a political party is deemed to automatically allocate 10% of the applicable spending limit to his or her political party. However, the percentage can be varied by written agreement between the candidate and the national agent.
The maximum expenditure that the national agent can incur is the aggregate of the amounts allocated by his or her party’s candidates (either by way of the 10% automatically allocated, or alternative amounts agreed in writing between the national agent and candidate).
Expense statements furnished by national agents and other persons who incur
election expenditure at national level, are available for inspection at the Offices of Dublin City Council. An overview of expense statements submitted for the 2019 Local Elections by national agents can be viewed below
The Law relating to Local Elections is contained in the following:
- Local Elections Regulations 1995, as amended by the Electoral (Amendment Act 1996)
- Electoral Act 1997
- Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001
- Electoral Amendment Act 2002
- Local Government (No. 2) Act 2003
- Electoral Amendment Act 2006
- Electoral Amendment Act 2009
- Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (S.I.75 of 2009)
In general these Acts provide for the conduct of Elections including nominations, postal voting, special voting, arrangements for the Poll, the taking of the poll, procedure and facilities for voting, counting of votes, rules for the counting of votes and electoral offences. Other relevant statutory provisions include the:
- Electoral Polling Scheme Regulations 2005(Polling Schemes)
- Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999 as amended by the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001, the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2002 and the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009.
- Local Elections (Petitions and Disqualifications) Act 1974
- Electoral Act 1992 as amended by the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1996, the Electoral Act 1997, the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001, the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2002, the
Electoral (Amendment) Act 2006 and the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2007.
- Parts III & IV of the Local Government Act 2001
- The Local Government (No. 2) Act 2003
- Local Government Reform Act 2014 - amended elements of Parts III and IV of the Local Government Act 2001 and makes particular provision in Section 28 for the 2014 local elections.
- Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 35 of 2014) – specify the documents that a voter may be required to produce at a polling station and as an assentor to the nomination of a non-party candidate to the person witnessing a statutory declaration (Sections 3(a) and (b)).
- all of the above are available from www.oireachtas.ie