Additional Informations



How Ireland’s Representatives are Elected



How Ireland’s MEP are elected

Click here to see documentation
(from Environment, Heritage and Local Goverment –

How Memebers of Local Authority are elected

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(from Environment, Heritage and Local Goverment –


Number of Local Electors In Wards

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(from Cork City Council –



Lessons about EU and local government

EU Governement

European Parliament – Legislative (similar to lower house)
  • acts together with the Council as a legislature
  • shares with the Council the budgetary power and decides in the last instance on the general budget of the EU
  • exerts the democratic control over EU institutions including the European Commission and appoints the Commission members
  • based and plenary sessions in Strasbourg, General Secretariat in Luxembourg, primarily meets in Brussels
European Council -Sets impetus and direction
  • summit of the Heads of Government, chaired by the President of the European Council)
  • gives the necessary impetus for the development and sets out general objectives and priorities
  • will not legislate
  • based in Brussels
Council of the European Union – Legislative (similar to upper house)
  • acts together with the Parliament as a legislature
  • exerts together with the Parliament the budgetary power
  • ensures coordination of the broad economic and social policy and sets out guidelines for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
  • conclude international agreements
  • based in Brussels
European Commission – Executive
  • is the “government”
  • submits proposals for new legislation to the Parliament and to the Council
  • implements EU policy and administers the budget
  • ensures compliance with EU law
  • negotiates international treaties
  • based in Brussels
Court of Justice of the European Union – Judiciary
  • ensure uniformity of interpretation of European law
  • has the power to decide legal disputes between EU member states, EU institutions, businesses and individuals
  • based in Luxembourg
European Court of Auditors – Financial auditor
  • examines the proper use of revenue and expenditure of the EU institutions (see also Budget of the European Union)
  • based in Luxembourg
European Central Bank – Monetary executive (central bank)
  • forms together with the national central banks the European System of Central Banks and thereby determining the monetary policy of the EU
  • ensures price stability in the eurozone by controlling the money supply
  • based in Frankfurt
European Council

councilThe European Council gives direction to the EU, and convenes at least four times a year. It comprises the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and one representative per member state; either its head of state or head of government. The European Council has been described by some as the Union’s “supreme political authority”.[74] It is actively involved in the negotiation of the treaty changes and defines the EU’s policy agenda and strategies.
The European Council uses its leadership role to sort out disputes between member states and the institutions, and to resolve political crises and disagreements over controversial issues and policies. It acts externally as a “collective head of state” and ratifies important documents (for example, international agreements and treaties).[75]
On 19 November 2009, Herman Van Rompuy was chosen as the first permanent President of the European Council. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force and he assumed office. Ensuring the external representation of the EU,[76] driving consensus and settling divergences among members are tasks for the President both during the convocations of the European Council and in the time periods between them. The European Council should not be mistaken for the Council of Europe, an international organisation independent from the EU.




The European Commission acts as the EU’s executive arm and is responsible for initiating legislation and the day-to-day running of the EU. The Commission is also seen as the motor of European integration. It operates as a cabinet government, with 28 Commissioners for different areas of policy, one from each member state, though Commissioners are bound to represent the interests of the EU as a whole rather than their home state.
One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently José Manuel Durão Barroso) appointed by the European Council. After the President, the most prominent Commissioner is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who is ex-officio Vice-President of the Commission and is chosen by the European Council too.[77] The other 25 Commissioners are subsequently appointed by the Council of the European Union in agreement with the nominated President. The 28 Commissioners as a single body are subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.



The European Parliament (EP) forms one half of the EU’s legislature (the other half is the Council of the European Union, see below). The 736 (soon to be 751) parliamentMembers of the European Parliament (MEPs) are directly elected by EU citizens every five years on the basis of proportional representation. Although MEPs are elected on a national basis, they sit according to political groups rather than their nationality. Each country has a set number of seats and is divided into sub-national constituencies where this does not affect the proportional nature of the voting system.[78]
The ordinary legislative procedure of the European Union.
The Parliament and the Council of the European Union pass legislation jointly in nearly all areas under the ordinary legislative procedure. This also applies to the EU budget. Finally, the Commission is accountable to Parliament, requiring its approval to take office, having to report back to it and subject to motions of censure from it. The President of the European Parliament carries out the role of speaker in parliament and represents it externally. The EP President and Vice-Presidents are elected by MEPs every two and a half years.

Local Governement

National Government has responsibility for the entire country.

It is engaged with areas of national importance, such as security, the budget, national roads, the education and health systems, etc.

Local Government is government at local level.


It is necessary for the service of local communities, providing such facilities as local water supply, sewerage systems, refuse collections, etc. Local Government is made up of both elected members (councillors) and employed members (the Manager and staff of the Local Authority).

The Impact of Local Government
  • Housing and Building
  • Road Transport / Safety
  • Water Schemes/ Sewerage
  • Development Incentives and Controls
  • Environmental Protection
  • Recreation and Amenities
  • Agriculture, Education, Health and Welfare
  • Miscellaneous Services
The Role of The Local Councillor
  • To carry out the wishes of the people who elect them.
  • To draw up policies which affect people in their local areas e.g. housing, water supply etc.
  • To organise certain matters of importance to the local community.
  • To control the financial affairs of the Local Authority.
  • To represent the Local Authority on Health Boards, VECs and Harbour Boards.
  • To represent and promote the interests of the local community.

There are over one thousand five hundred elected local councillors in the country. They share the responsibilities for finance, policy and development with the Manager. They serve in directing policies and actions.



Local Government Elections must be held every 5 years

Who can vote?

Every person over 18 years whose name is included in the electoral register is entitled to vote in the local area in which s/he lives. It is not necessary to be an Irish citizen to vote in a Local Election.

Who can be elected?

Persons over 18 years of age who are registered voters are eligible for election to Local Government except persons who are Government Ministers, Ministers of State, Members of the Gardai and the Defence Forces and certain groups of public employees. The grounds for disqualification include failure to pay money due to a local authority and certain court convictions and prison sentences.

Nomination of Candidates:

Candidates must be nominated one month before polling day. A person may be nominated to stand in more than one area.


For the purposes of Local Government Elections, the county is divided into a number of electoral areas and councillors are elected for each area. People who live in towns may vote in two separate elections, one for the county council and one for the town authority. There are 114 directly elected local authorities in the country containing 1,627 seats divided into 268 electoral areas.

There are 4 categories:

City Councils 5
County Councils 29
Borough Councils 5
Town Councils 75
Total = 114

County Councils: Dublin has 3, Tipperary has 2 and each of the other 24 counties have one, making a total of 29.

City Councils: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

Borough Councils: Clonmel, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Sligo and Wexford.

Town Councils: All other towns, for example Athlone, Carlow, Dundalk, etc., have town councils. (Formerly, the bigger towns had Urban District Councils and the smaller towns, Town Commissioners).

The Powers and Functions of Local Authorities

City Councils, County Councils and Borough Councils have the maximum number of responsibilities of all Irish local authorities. Since 1976 these functions have been classified into eight programme groups. In contrast, Town Commissioners have responsibility only for the maintenance of houses, allotments, meals for school children, parks, licensing cinemas and markets, etc.

(from wikipedia –

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