Local and European elections: All you need to know before voting on June 7th

Local And European Elections: All You Need To Know Before Voting On June 7Th
15.05.2024. Campaign Posters . Photo shows Election Campaign Posters in Dublin. Sam Boal/Collins Photos.
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Tomas Doherty

Ireland will head to the polls on June 7th for both European and local elections.

Here is everything you need to know.


Local elections

Why do these elections matter?

Local elections are about who leads communities and who makes decisions in areas such as housing, planning and environmental protection. But the results will also serve as an important indicator of public opinion across Ireland ahead of a general election within the next 10 months.

The last set of local elections took place in May 2019 against a very different political backdrop. Fianna Fáil won the most council seats overall, the Green Party made historic gains and Sinn Féin lost many of their seats.

This year's election comes after four years of a Coalition government between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party. Sinn Féin has jumped in popularity since 2019 and will likely make gains this time round.


Housing is a top priority for voters and councillors play a key role in the planning system. The political makeup of councils could influence when and where homes get built over the next decade.

However, in contrast to 2019, immigration is also one of the biggest concerns for voters. Anti-migrant or far-right candidates could see an increase in support, though it's not clear if this would be enough to win seats.

Independent candidates have traditionally done well at local elections – almost 200 of the current councillors are unaligned with any party – and this is likely to continue this year.

How many councils are there?

There are 31 councils in the Republic, consisting of 26 county councils, three city councils, and two city and county councils.


The country is then further divided into 166 local electoral areas (LEAs), with an average population of 28,700. Each LEA has between three and seven seats.

How many councillors are elected?

There are 949 councillors, who are elected every five years. The number of councillors per local authority ranges from 18 in Leitrim to 63 in Dublin City.

This year there are about 2,000 candidates running across all 31 local authorities.


According to figures from Women for Election, a non-profit organisation campaigning to increase the number of women in elected office, there are 655 women running this year compared to 561 in 2019.

However, there are still three LEAs where no women are standing as candidates.

What do councillors do? And how much are they paid?

Councillors have both a legislative role and an advocacy role within local authorities.

They are responsible for the council's policy, but the chief executive, an unelected official, is then tasked with implementation.


Councillors have the power to make decisions on the rate of Local Property Tax, the annual budget of the local authority, climate action plans and local area plans.

They have the power to hold the local authority to account by scrutinising annual accounts, examining targets, following up on audits and requiring the chief executive to report on different matters.

They also represent and advocate for their constituents, meeting with them and trying to address the issues they raise.

Each councillor attends meetings of the full council and the local authority committees of which they are members.

A new increased salary for councillors, which now stands at €28,724, was introduced in 2021. They also get an annual expenses allowance to cover travel and subsistence and a mobile phone allowance.

Who can vote in the local elections?

Anyone who lives in Ireland, regardless of nationality, can vote in local elections. You just need to be aged over 18, live in the relevant LEA and also be listed on the register of electors.

You can check the register online at checktheregister.ie or at your council offices.

When will we get the results?

The counting of the ballots will start on the morning of Saturday, June 8th. The first seats will be filled by the afternoon, but the final results could take days.

European elections

Why do these elections matter?

The European Parliament election is the central way for Irish citizens to have a say on shaping the European Union’s policies. Almost four million voters in Ireland will join more than 330 million Europeans to choose 720 lawmakers.

The results will affect the bloc’s plans over the next five years, but, like the local elections, the Irish vote will also be seen as a barometer of the national mood.

The EU has a complex governing structure and can often seem distant from national issues. But members of the European Parliament (MEPs) vote on legislation that has a major impact on people in Ireland.

A clear dividing line between the Government and opposition parties here is the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, while the revision of Ireland’s partial derogation (exemption) from the EU’s Nitrates Directive is an important issue for farmers.

What are the constituencies? And how many MEPs are elected from Ireland?

Ireland will vote for 14 MEPs spread across three constituencies: Dublin (four seats), Midlands–North-West (five seats) and South (five seats).

The last election in 2019 saw 13 MEPs elected. Ireland was allocated an additional seat in 2023 after an assessment of the latest population figures across the EU.

The Electoral Commission recommended this extra seat was given to Midlands–North-West, with Co Laois and Co Offaly moved into the constituency from South.

How many candidates are running?

There are a record 74 candidates running in the European elections this year.

Some 28 candidates will vie for the five seats in the expanded Midlands-North-West constituency. There are 23 candidates in both the Dublin and South constituencies. A total of 25 candidates, just over one third, are women.

European elections often throw up surprises and this year's results might be hard to predict due to the number of candidates.

What do MEPs do? And how much are they paid?

The European Parliament does not have the power to initiate laws. Instead, the European Commission, the executive body, drafts legislation for the bloc.

MEPs in the parliament can then vote to block legislation, which gives them important leverage. They also ratify international agreements, approve the EU budget drafted by the Commission and scrutinise the work of other EU institutions.

They also have the final say in approving the president of the European Commission, who is currently Ursula von der Leyen.

Each MEP takes home the same gross salary – €10,075 per month as of July 2023. After taxes and insurance, the monthly total lands at €7,853. Former members are also entitled to a pension when they turn 63.

What are the groups in the European Parliament?

Irish MEPs do not sit along national or individual party lines in the European Parliament, but rather with their European political group.

Fine Gael sits with the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political group. Fianna Fáil is part of the centrist Renew Europe group, while the Irish Green Party sits in the Green grouping.

Sinn Féin forms part of The Left grouping, as do three Independent MEPs from Ireland: Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan.

The Labour Party, which has no MEPs in the current parliament, would sit with the main centre-left grouping, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).

Who can vote in 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.

When will we get the results?

The count for the European elections will begin at 9am on Sunday, June 9th.

The results of the first count cannot be announced until the polls have closed throughout Europe, which will be at 10pm Irish time on June 9th.

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