Registering a political party in Ireland

Introduction

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 Register of Political Parties is 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

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.

Either Or
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 them must be on the registrar of electors.

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 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.

Party emblems

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.

Registered details

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

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 Clerk of the Seanad together with a deposit of €634.87. 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.

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 Office of the Registrar of Political Parties and request an application form. You will receive a copy of the application form, together 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

Office of the Registrar of Political Parties

Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 618 3314 / 3438
Fax: +353 (0)1 618 4102


Page edited: 19 May 2021