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Local Elections

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Local Elections

Local elections are held every five years. At these elections, members of the local community elect Councillors to represent the community in local authorities. Polling day, which must be in May or June, is the same in all parts of the country. The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government makes an order setting the day and setting the polling period, which must last at least 12 hours between 07:00am and 10:30pm.

The local authority returning officer is responsible for conducting the election for each local authority.  Each local authority meets the cost of running the election. Further information is available in the information leaflet - How Members of Local authorities are elected (pdf, 350kb)

The local elections were last held on Friday 23 May, 2014. The next local elections are due to be held in May or June 2019.

Results 2014

The election results, collated and published by the Department are available at Local Elections 2014 – Results, Transfer of Votes and Statistics.

Local Electoral Areas

Each county, city and city and county is divided into local electoral areas and members of local authorities are elected in these.  Local electoral areas and the number of members to be elected in each are specified in a statutory instrument for each local authority area.  These were most recently made in 2014 for all except Cork City, which was made in 2008.

Maps showing the local electoral areas can be found in the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee Report 2013.

Review of Local Electoral Area Boundaries 2017-2018

Mr John Paul Phelan T.D., Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform has established two committees on 13 December 2017 to review local electoral areas.  Press Release.

The Committees’ reports were presented to the Minister on 13 June 2018. They will be considered by the Minister as the basis for the revision of local electoral areas for use at the local elections to be held in 2019.  Statutory Instruments giving effect to the recommendations in the Reports of the Local Electoral Area Boundary Committees will be made in due course.

Committee No. 1 reported and made recommendations on every county, including Limerick City and County and Waterford City and County, other than Cork, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway and South Dublin.

Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee No. 1 Report – 2018

Committee No. 2 reported and made recommendations on Dublin City, Cork City and Galway City, and the counties of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin.

Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee No. 2 Report – 2018

The terms of reference of both Committees can be found on the website of the Boundary Committees at

Candidate Spending and Donation Limits


Spending limits, first introduced for the 2009 local elections, were revised by the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The limit depends on the population of the local electoral area, as follows -

Local Electoral Area Population and Candidate Spending Limit
Local Electoral Area Candidate Spending Limit
Population in excess of 35,000 13,000 Euro
Population between 18,001 and 35,000 11,500 Euro
Population of 18,000 or less 9,750 Euro




Candidates nominated by a political party are deemed to automatically allocate 10% of their spending limit to the party’s national agent. For example, a party candidate with a limit of 13,000 euro would be deemed to automatically allocate 1,300 euro for use by the party. Their effective limit would therefore be 11,700 euro. The 10% figure can be varied upwards or downwards by written agreement between the candidate and national agent.

Election spending incurred during a period before the election must be reported to the local authority concerned and must be below the specified limit. The date of commencement of the spending period is set out in an order made by the Minister before the election and must commence between 50 and 60 days before polling day. The Order for the 2014 Local Elections, S.I. No. 144 of 2014, was made on 20 March 2014. 


The following rules apply for donations:

  • The maximum amount that can be accepted in the same calendar year by a member of a local authority or by a local election candidate from the same source is 1,000 euro.
  • Details of donations which exceed 600 euro must be disclosed in a statement made to the local authority.
  • A candidate or member of a local authority who receives a monetary donation that exceeds 100 euro must open and maintain a political donations account in a financial institution.

Certain donations are restricted:

  • It is prohibited to accept a donation from an anonymous source which exceeds 100 euro.
  • Donations in cash which exceed 200 euro are also prohibited.

There are specific rules covering corporate donations which exceed 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.

Guidelines on the spending and donations rules that apply at local elections are available from each County, City and City and County Council.

Further information can be found in the relevant legislation, including the Electoral Act 1997.

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Data Protection

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage requires customers to provide certain personal data in order to carry out our legislative and administrative functions. The Department will treat all information and personal data that you provide as confidential, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection legislation. Personal data may be exchanged with other Government Departments, local authorities, agencies under the aegis of the Department, or other public bodies, in certain circumstances where this is provided for by law. 

The Department's Data Protection Policy and Privacy Statements, which set out how we will use your personal data, as well as providing information regarding your rights as a data subject, are available on the Department’s website.  They are also available in hard copy upon request from the Data Protection Officer, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Newtown Road, Wexford, email