Local Elections in Ireland


Local elections are held in Ireland every 5 years in the month of May or June. The 2014 elections will be held on 23 May 2014. At these elections, members of the local community elect Councillors to represent the community in local authorities. At present, there are over 3 million local government electors in Ireland.

The number of Councillors that may be elected to each local authority changes from area to area.

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government may divide each city or county area into smaller local electoral areas and may fix the number of Councillors that can be elected for each of these electoral areas.

The polling date is fixed by an order of the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and is the same day in all of the local authority areas. The polling period must last at least 12 hours between 7.00 am and 10.30 pm.

The responsibility for conducting the election lies with the secretary or clerk of each local authority who acts as the returning officer. Each local authority pays the cost of running the election.

There is a week for nominating candidates to stand at local election; this takes place 4 weeks before the polling day

On the polling day, voters may vote by secret ballot in their local polling station. The electoral system is based on proportional representation with single transferable vote.

If a candidate is elected to more than one local authority area, he or she must declare in writing which area he or she wishes to represent within 3 days of the public notice of the results of the election.


You do not have to be an Irish citizen to vote in a local election.

You must be over 18 years of age and you must live in the local electoral area.

You must be registered on the Register of Electors compiled every year by County and City Councils. You can find out more about registering to vote.

You may not vote in both a County Council and a City Council election.

Local election posters and signs

The law in Ireland forbids the putting up of posters/signs on poles or other structures in public places unless you have the written permission of the owner of the pole or other structure in advance of putting up the posters/signs. Local authorities also have the power to remove these items should they disintegrate or cause a litter nuisance.

Following an election, a party/candidatemust remove posters within a seven day period. After that date, an on-the-spot fine of €150 is issued by your local authority in respect of each offence. Your local authority will remove the poster and issue a fine.

How to apply

To check whether or not your name is on the Electoral Register, enquire at your local Garda Station, post office, public library, local authority office and online at www.checktheregister.ie.

To be included on the Electoral Register, you must complete an application form and return it to your local authority. Application forms are available at your local authority office. You can find out more about your right to vote in Ireland

Once you have filled out the application form, you must post it to the local authority by freepost. There is no need to put a stamp on the envelope.

There is more information on local elections on the website of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Page edited: 23 January 2014