June 5th date set for local and European elections


THE EUROPEAN and local elections will be held on Friday June 5th, Minister for the Environment John Gormley announced yesterday.

It is expected that the Dublin South byelection, caused by the death of former Fianna Fáil minister Séamus Brennan, and the Dublin Central byelection, resulting from the death of Independent TD Tony Gregory, will be held on the same day.

Poll hours for the elections on June 5th will be from 7am until 10pm in order to maximise the turnout.

Over three million people will be entitled to vote, according to the new register of electors, which will apply at the elections and comes into force on February 15th.

There are four European election constituencies and 258 local election constituencies. The number of European Parliament seats in Ireland will be reduced from 13 at present to 12 in the new parliament. Dublin has lost one of its four seats and the country is now divided into four three-seat constituencies.

Announcing the election date, Mr Gormley reminded people who are eligible to vote, but who are not yet registered, to do so at the earliest opportunity by applying for entry to the register of electors.

Every person aged 18 years or over is entitled vote in the local elections in the electoral area where they ordinarily reside, whether or not they are Irish citizens.

When it comes to the European elections all EU citizens living in this country, as well as Irish citizens, are entitled to vote as long as they are included in the register of electors.

People can check whether they are registered on the website checktheregister.ie; application forms can be downloaded from the site.

Application should be made to the county council or city council for the area where the applicant is resident so as to be received by the council not later than Monday May 18th.

Forms must be witnessed by a member of the Garda Síochána or, if the person cannot attend their local Garda station, by an official of their county or city council, provided they state the reason why they were unable to attend a Garda station. If, because of a physical illness or physical disability, a person cannot attend either their local Garda station or their county or city council, their application form must be accompanied by a medical certificate.

Labour spokesman on local government Ciarán Lynch last night criticised Mr Gormley for not making an announcement about spending limits for the local elections.

He said he had asked the Minister about the issue in the Dáil but had not got a proper response. “With the local elections no more than 16 weeks away, we now need the detail and, in particular, need to know what the limits will be, and what the relevant time period will be,” said Mr Lynch.

“Research shows that election spending is significantly related to electoral success and the introduction of spending limits would be an important factor in fighting corruption and safeguarding the electoral process,” he added.