No change to limits on candidate spending for next election

Expenses which may be reimbursed to Dáil candidate to remain at maximum of €8,700

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly will not change limits for election spending or  reimbursement of candidate expenses in the next  Dáil election. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly will not change limits for election spending or reimbursement of candidate expenses in the next Dáil election. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has decided not to change the limits for election spending or the reimbursement of expenses for candidates at the forthcoming Dáil election.

He informed the Cabinet on Tuesday that while he has powers under the Electoral Act 1997 to vary the limits in line with any changes in the Consumer Price Index, he has decided not to do so.

He has also agreed to a change in the format of ballot papers for elections to eliminate possible confusion over where voters should place their preferences.

On the election spending limits, the increase in the Consumer Price Index since the amounts were last increased in 2007 is 5 per cent, and the Minister took the view that it was too small to warrant change.

The current limits for Dáil candidates are €30,150 in a three-seat constituency; €37,650 in a four-seat constituency and €45,200 in a five-seat constituency.

The amount of election expenses which may be reimbursed to a candidate at a Dáil election comes to a maximum of €8,700.

current ballot

newballot

Quarter of quota

To qualify for the reimbursement, a candidate must get more than a quarter of a quota at any point during the count.

A candidate must have incurred the expenditure before submitting a claim.

Mr Kelly has also agreed to a change in the format of ballot papers for elections in order to eliminate possible confusion about where voters should place their preferences.

These changes will be introduced by way of amendment to the Electoral (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2015 published last week.

Dáil debate

The debate on the Bill is expected to commence in the Dáil before the end of this month and continue into November.

“I hope that the changes proposed will receive the support of all members of the Oireachtas and I look forward to the new format of the ballot paper being used at the next general election,” said Mr Kelly.

At present, political party emblems are placed along the left-hand side of the ballot paper. In the case of “non-party” candidates the space for the emblem is required to be left blank.

It had been reported that some voters put their voting preferences in these boxes in the left-hand column rather than in the correct box on the right-hand column.