Local and European elections: Everything Irish voters need to know

Voters will elect 14 MEPs to the European Parliament and 949 councillors to 31 local authorities on Friday, June 7th

Q: What are the dates and times for the upcoming local and European elections? What will I need in order to vote?

Polling takes place for both the local and European elections on Friday June 7th between 7am and 10pm. A polling information card will be sent to your home address, and this will have the details about your local polling station, which should be nearby. It’s always advisable to have your polling information card with you but you can vote without it; just make sure to bring a valid form of personal ID. This could include the following: a passport, a driving licence, a public services card, or an employee or student identity card with a photograph. There are about 6,500 polling stations nationwide.

Q: Am I eligible to vote in the local elections?

The difference with local elections is that you do not have to be an Irish citizen to vote. You just need to be over 18 years of age, live in the relevant local electoral area and also be listed on the register of electors. You can check the register online at checktheregister.ie or at your city and county council offices. Applications to register or change name or address details must be received by your local authority no later than Monday, May 20th and may be submitted online.

Q: Am I eligible to vote in the European elections?

It’s a little different for the European elections. Every Irish citizen aged 18 and over who is on the register of electors can vote in the European election. If you’re an Irish citizen living in another EU country, you can vote in that country. If you are from another EU member state but are living in Ireland you can vote in the European election in Ireland.

Q: What should I expect when I arrive at the polling station?

When you arrive at the polling station, you will be provided with two ballot papers, except in Limerick where you will be presented with three. The ballot papers will be white for the EU elections, pink for the Limerick mayor and any other colour of the local authority’s choosing for the local elections.


On the ballot paper, you will see each candidate’s name listed, in alphabetical order, alongside party emblems and images of the candidates. There will be a box to the right of each candidate’s name. You mark your preference for each candidate in the box to the right. Put a “1″ in the box beside your first-choice candidate, a “2″ in the box beside your second-choice candidate if you wish, a “3″ in the box beside your third-choice candidate, etc. You can choose as many or as few candidates to vote for as you like.


Irish Times Political Correspondent Jennifer Bray has all you need to know about the upcoming local and European elections. Today is the last day to register to vote, so make sure your voice is heard #le24 #le2024 #ee24 #ee2024 #localelections #europeanelections

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Q: When will the votes be counted?

The ballot boxes will be opened on Saturday morning at 9am. The ballot papers will be sorted and separated. Counting of the locals will be conducted first. The timing of the count for the Limerick mayor ballot will be a matter for the returning officer. The results for the first count of the European elections cannot be announced until the polls have closed throughout Europe, which will be at 10pm Irish time on Sunday June 9th. The count for EU elections will commence at 9am Sunday. Politicians and political pundits will be carefully watching the boxes open on Saturday morning, hoping to get an idea of how the weekend will play out from early tallies.

Q: What does a candidate need to do to succeed?

Put simply, a candidate needs to meet a quota of votes to succeed. This quota is calculated by dividing the number of valid votes cast on voting day in that electoral area by one more than the number of seats available, and then adding one. So, for example, in a four-seat constituency, with a total valid poll of 25,000, the quota is reached by dividing 25,000 by five (one more than the number of seats), giving 5,000, and then adding one, making the quota 5,001. When a candidate receives more votes than required to reach the quota, all ballot papers are distributed to the other candidates accordingly. This is called the surplus vote. If no candidates are deemed elected on the first count, the candidate with the least number of votes will be eliminated and their second preference votes will be redistributed. This goes on until all the seats are filled.

Q: What are the big issues in these local elections?

National and local politicians have been canvassing intensively all around the country in recent weeks, knocking on tens of thousands of doors and listening to the concerns of voters. Politicians are reporting the biggest issues on the doorsteps to be housing, local issues such as infrastructure and the state of roads and paths, transport and immigration. According to the most recent edition of Snapshot, The Irish Times polling series with Ipsos B&A that captures the issues that citizens are taking notice of, housing was the top issue for voters in April. The other enduring issue signalled by April’s survey was immigration. Anecdotally, however, politicians say that voters are focusing on local bread-and-butter issues such as BusConnects – the National Transport Authority’s programme to improve bus services in Irish cities – and other bus services, local amenities and the condition of local roads.

Q: How many candidates are running for the local and European elections?

There are about 2,000 candidates running in 31 local authorities, covering a total of 166 local electoral areas (LEAs). There are between three and seven seats in each. These local politicians are competing for 949 seats. There are a record 73 candidates running in the European Elections, for only 14 seats. The three constituencies for June’s EU elections are: Dublin (four seats), Midlands North-West (which had four seats but will have five in this election) and Ireland South (five seats). Across the EU, a total of 720 MEPs will be elected. Seats are allocated on the basis of population of each member state of the European Union. No country can have fewer than six or more than 96 MEPs.

Q: I live in Limerick. What do I need to know about the vote for a directly elected mayor? What powers will the mayor have?

Anyone aged 18 or above who is on the register of electors in Limerick city or county can vote. In terms of the role, the new mayor will be the executive head of Limerick City and County Council, taking on many of the responsibilities of the chief executive. They will propose a development plan, develop and implement a housing strategy for Limerick, propose the annual budget to the elected councillors for their approval and have an audience with Ministers. They will serve a five-year term and receive a yearly salary of €154,134.

Q: So what happens to the existing chief executive?

The Department of Housing says the current chief executive will become the director general and will oversee the day-to-day running of the council. They will be responsible for managing and accounting for the council’s finances, overseeing human resources and administering schemes and individual grants. They will also oversee legal activities relating to those duties.