Local elections - nomination of candidates

Introduction

If you wish to be nominated to stand for election to a local authority in Ireland, there is a specific week in which you must be nominated. This period takes place 4 weeks before the polling day.

You may nominate yourself or be nominated by a local government elector, registered in the area. You may be nominated to stand in more than one area.

Rules

You are eligible to be elected to a local authority if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and you are at least 18 years old. You do not have to be an Irish citizen.

You are disqualified from becoming a member of a local authority if you are:

  • A member of the European Commission, Parliament or Courts
  • A Minister of the Government or a Minister of State
  • An Ceann Comhairle (the Chairman of the Dáil) or an Cathaoirleach (the Chairman of the Seanad)
  • A member of an Garda Síochána or a full-time member of the Irish defence forces
  • A judge
  • A member of the Court of Auditors of the European Communities
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General
  • A civil servant - where it does not specifically state in your contract of employment that you may be a member of a local authority
  • 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
  • Employed by the Health Service Executive and at a grade or of a description of employment designated by order of the Minister for Health
  • Currently imprisoned for a term longer than 6 months
  • A person who has failed pay local authority charges
  • A person who has failed to comply with an order of a court to pay money due to a local authority
  • A person who has been convicted of fraud or dishonest dealings, corrupt practice or acting while disqualified

Candidate spending limit

Candidates are allowed spend a limited amount of money on the local election campaign. This amount varies depending on the population size of the local electorate area.

Local electoral area Candidate spending limit
Population over 35,000 €13,000
Population between 18,001 and 35,000 €11,500
Population of 18,000 or less €9,750

Candidates must disclose the campaign spend to the local authority within 90 days following polling day. Your local authority will check that the amount spent is within the regulations. The Minister sets the start of the campaign spending period between 50 and 60 days before polling day. For example, the spending period for the 2019 local elections is 30 March 2019 - 24 May 2019, inclusive.

Donations

The following rules apply to candidates:

  • A candidate may accept a maximum of €1,000 from a specific donor in a calendar year.
  • Details of donations over €600 must be disclosed in a statement to the local authority.
  • A candidate who receives a donation over €100 must open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution.

The following restrictions apply to donations:

  • Anonymous donations valued over €100 are not allowed
  • Cash donations valued over €200 are not allowed
  • For corporate donations valued over €200 euro, the donor must be registered with the Standards in Public Office Commission and
  • Evidence that the donation was approved by the corporate body must be provided

How to apply

Nomination forms (LE1) are available from the local authority returning officer. After you have completed your nomination form, return the Form to the returning officer.

If you have no party affiliation, you may describe your nomination as 'Non-Party' or leave the question blank on the Form.

If you are an independent candidate, you must submit your nomination form, along with one of the following, to the returning officer:

  1. The completion of statutory declarations (LE1A) by 15 assentors, registered as local government electors in the relevant local electoral area. The statutory declaration of each assentor 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.

    or

  2. Lodge a deposit of €100 with the returning officer.

If you are affiliated with a political party you must submit a Certificate of Party Affiliation with your nomination form.

Both independent and party affiliated candidates can include a photo graph to be included on the ballot paper. You can find the photo size and other requirements detailed in the Nomination Form.

The returning officer must rule on whether your nomination paper is valid within one hour of its presentation.

Your nomination paper may be ruled invalid if:

  • The nomination of a non-party candidate is not assented to in the proper manner, or
  • The nomination form of any candidate is not properly made out or signed.

The returning officer is required to object to the description of any candidate which is (in the returning officer's opinion), unnecessarily long or insufficient to identify the candidate. The candidate or the returning officers may amend the particulars shown on the nomination paper.

More information on local elections on the website of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and in Section 15 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2009.

A list of Electoral Legislation is available on DublinCity.ie

Page edited: 22 August 2019