Spending limits for local election candidates increase to as much as €15,350

Those vying for council seats in June 7th poll will be able to spend more on posters, leaflets and other campaign material

Local election candidates will be allowed to spend up to €15,350 on their campaigns before polling day, as much as €2,350 more than those who took part in the last battle for council seats in 2019.

Candidates will be able to spend more on posters, leaflets and other campaign material after Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien signed off on increased spending limits for the June 7th election.

The previous spending limits were in place since 2014 and Mr O’Brien used powers to change the limit due to the “significant” increase in the consumer price index (CPI) over the last decade.

The new spending limits mean that a local election candidate running in a local electoral area with a population of more than 35,000 is allowed to spend €15,350, up from the €13,000 permitted in the last local election.


For those running in places with a population of between 18,001 and 35,000 the new limit is €13,600, up from €11,500.

And in areas with a population of 18,000 or less the new limit is €11,500, up from €9,750.

The CPI measures the change in the average level of prices of consumer goods and services, and inflation has been high in recent years.

A Department of Housing statement said the CPI increased 18.4 per cent between May 2014 and January 2024.

“Accordingly, given the aggregate increase in the consumer price index since 2014 was significant and material, the Minister increased the spending limits in accordance with the provisions of section 19C of the Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999,” it said.

The spending limit of €230,000 per candidate in the European Elections – where two of the constituencies, Midlands-North-West and South, cover vast areas – remains unchanged.

The department said spending in the 2019 European election was taken into account when considering whether the limit should be revised.

Just over €3 million was spent on that campaign between expenditure by candidates and political parties on that occasion.

The department said: “On the basis of a simple average [of the 59 candidates], an amount of approximately €51,048 was spent on each candidate at the 2019 elections, which was less than a quarter of the threshold of €230,000 per candidate.

“In addition, the returns showed that the candidate with the highest expenditure incurred just over €121,000 in election expenses.

“Therefore, it was considered that the existing spending limit of €230,000 remains sufficient to meet the needs of candidates standing for election to the 2024-2029 European Parliament.”

The spending limit for candidates for the other contest happening on June 7th – the vote for Ireland’s first directly elected mayor in Limerick – is €72,100.

This sum reflects the combined limits in place for the 2020 general elections in Limerick City and County – which broadly make up the electoral area for the mayoral election – as well as changes in the CPI since.

Meanwhile, Monday May 20th is the last day to register to vote in advance of June’s elections.

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is urging all eligible young voters in Ireland to register before the deadline passes, highlighting the “simplicity of online registration”.

The organisation’s policy manager Grace McManus said: “Ireland’s youth population is growing, and there are over 730,000 young people aged 18 to 29 eligible to register to vote in Ireland. This represents almost 1 in 5 of those of voting age in Ireland.

“With significant elections on the horizon, young people are part of a cohort that could prove hugely influential. It’s important to ensure no young person misses the opportunity to participate.”

She also said: “We want to ensure that the almost 70,000 young people who turned 18 and became eligible to vote in the last 12 months are on the register.”

People who are unsure if they are registered or not, or who wish to register for the first time, can do so at checktheregister.ie

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times