Registering a political party in Ireland
Candidates at elections who are members of a registered party can add their party’s name to their own name on the ballot paper. If the party that you belong to is not on the Register, you are described as a non-party candidate on the ballot paper.
The Electoral Commission is responsible for the Register of Political Parties. The Registrar is the Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission.
Under Section 43 of the Electoral Reform Act 2022, 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
Criteria for registration
To be registered, your party must satisfy the Registrar that it is organised to contest elections. You can register a party’s name and an emblem. Unregistered parties are entitled to fight elections but the party's name will not appear on the ballot paper.
Anyone can inspect the register of political parties in Ireland by contacting the office of the Registrar and making an appointment.
You can register the party to contest all elections or to contest only local elections. Different rules apply if you want to register to contest local elections only.
|All elections||At least 300 recorded members||One TD or MEP at the time of registration|
|Local elections only||At least 100 recorded members||3 councillors at the time of registration|
Members must be 18 or over and at least half of them must be registered to vote.
You can register a party to contest an election in a particular region of Ireland only (for example, a party campaigning for extra local services). In this case, you need to have at least 100 members.
Constitution and administration
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.
Other rules for registration
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
- Consists of more than 6 words
In the case of a party operating in a particular part of the country, the name must make it clear that it only operates in that area.
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 an 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.
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 Ireland, a reference to that fact and to the part of the country 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) who is responsible for dealing with donations
Registration refusals and appeals
When the Registrar has considered your application for registration, you will be notified of the decision. If the application is refused, the Registrar will inform you of the reasons for refusal and details of how to appeal the decision.
Notices of decisions are published in Iris Oifigiúil (the Irish Government official gazette).
Appeals must be lodged within 21 days of the publication of the decision in Iris Oifigiúil, to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission together with a deposit of €500.
The deposit is returned to the person making the appeal unless the appeal board decides that the appeal was frivolous (not serious) or vexatious (intended to cause annoyance).
How to apply
Contact the Electoral Commission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.