Registering a political party in Ireland
The purpose of registering a political party in the Register of Political Parties is that candidates at elections who are members of registered parties may add their parties' name to their own names on the ballot paper. If the party that you belong to is not included on the Register, you will be described as a non-party candidate on the ballot paper. The Registrar and the actual Register of Political Parties are based in the Houses of the Oireachtas, Dublin. The Registrar is the Clerk of the Dáil.
Under Section 25 of the Electoral Act, 1992, as substituted by Section 11 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2001, you can apply to the Registrar of Political Parties in order to register your own political party in any of the following elections in Ireland:
- Dáil elections
- European elections
- Local elections
To be registered, your party has to satisfy the Registrar that it is organised to contest elections. Your party must also have one of the following:
- It must have not less than 300 recorded members aged 18 or over. A party
that applies for registration as a party organised to contest elections in
part of the State or local elections only needs 100 recorded members aged
18 or over. At least half of your party's recorded members must be on the
Register of Electors.
- It must have at least one member who, at the time of the application, is
a member of the Dáil or a
representative of the European
Parliament and who certifies in writing to the Registrar that he or she
is a member of the party.
- In the case of a party that applies as a party organised to contest only local elections, the party must have at least three members who, at the time of application, are members of a local authority and who each certify that he or she is a member of the party.
In addition, the party must have a constitution, a memorandum or another document or set of rules that have been adopted by the party and that provide for:
- An annual or other periodic meeting or conference of the party
- An executive committee or similar body elected by the party, which administers the business of the party.
A party will not be registered if its name:
- Is identical to the name, abbreviation or acronym of the name of any registered party or so closely resembles the name, abbreviation or acronym of the name of a party as to be likely to confuse the public, or
- Consists of more than 6 words or
- In the case of a party operating in relation to a particular part of the State, does not include sufficient reference to that part to make it clear that the party only operates in relation to that part.
An application to register a political party emblem will not be granted if the emblem:
- Is likely to be confused by voters with a registered emblem used by another party
- Is obscene or offensive
- Is of such a character that its publication would be likely to amount to the commission of a offence
- Includes a word or expression, which if it was or was part of the party's name, would prevent the party from being registered.
Unregistered parties are entitled to fight elections but the party's name will not appear on the ballot paper.
The following details are entered in the Register of Political Parties:
- The name of the party, including any abbreviation or acronym
- The emblem, if an application for its registration has been granted
- The address of the party's headquarters
- The name or names of the officer or officers of the party who are authorised to sign certificates authenticating the party's candidates at elections
- The type or types of election that the party is registered as being organised to contest
- Where the party is registered as organised to contest elections in a specified part of the State, a reference to that fact and to the part of the State concerned
- The name of any political group with which the party is affiliated
- The name and address of each accounting unit (for example, branch) of the political party and the name and address of the person (for example, treasurer) of the accounting unit who is responsible for dealing with donations
When the Registrar has considered your application for registration, you will be notified of the decision and informed about the reasons for refusal if your application is refused and details of how to appeal the decision. Notice of decision will be published in Iris Oifigiúil. (Iris Oifigiúil is the official means used by the Irish Government to announce appointments to public offices and publish proclamations; statutory instruments; appointment of receivers to companies; etc.).
Appeals can be made in writing, within 21 days of the decision, to the Clerk of the Seanad together with a deposit. The appeal board consists of a Judge of the High Court acting as Chairman, and the Chairman of the Dáil and the Chairman of the Seanad.
Anyone can inspect the register of political parties in Ireland by contacting the office of the Registrar and making an appointment (see "Where to apply").
An appeal against the refusal of an application for registration requires a deposit of €634.87 to be paid.
There is no fee for inspecting the register of political parties or for registering a political party in Ireland.
How to apply
Contact the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties and request an application form. You will receive a copy of the application form, together with with a copy of the relevant extract from the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2001. The application form to register your political party is not currently available to download online.
Where to apply