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So who is running? Where are the constituencies? And what talking points can you expect? Alamy
European Parliament

Who is standing and what can Ireland expect in the run up to European elections in June?

The elections are due to take place some time between 6 and 9 June.

IRELAND WILL GO to the polls in June 2024 to vote for the next set of MEPs to represent the country across three constituencies of the European Parliament.

The election will take place on one day between 6 and 9 June – on the same day as the 2024 local elections.

Although many MEPs have expressed the view that the union will become more polarised after the next election, a recent European Commission Eurobarometer Report found that the majority of Irish citizens have a positive view of the European project.

As some sitting MEPs mull over whether they’ll run again, certain parties have already announced their candidates. The constituency boundaries have also changed and the priorities of the Irish public are beginning to shift.

So who is running? What are the constituencies for the next election? And what can you expect to hear as the candidates talking points in the run up to the election?


Ireland, which will now have 14 seats in total in the parliament, has three constituencies. 

Ireland South, with five seats, includes counties Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, and Wicklow.

After a boundary review, Laois and Offaly were transferred in October to Ireland Midlands-North-West, which also includes Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.

This constituency will have five seats available in the next election, after an additional seat – one of fourteen granted to members states after Brexit – was allocated to the region in November.

Finally, the constituency of Dublin (comprising the county on its own) will have four seats available in the next election.

Who is standing?

Of the current batch of 13 sitting Irish MEPs, 10 have so far confirmed or hinted at their intention to run again.

Three Fine Gael MEPs – Seán Kelly, Colm Markey and Maria Walsh – told The Business Post in July that they intend to run again. However, the party has yet to announce or confirm its candidates.

Two Fianna Fáil MEPs – Barry Andrews and Billy Kelleher – both plan to contest the next election.

Kelleher said in November that he has written to Fianna Fáil seeking to contest the election. Andrews also confirmed to The Business Post in July that he would seek to be chosen as a Fianna Fáil candidate. 

Both Green MEPs, Grace O’Sullivan of Ireland South and Ciarán Cuffe of Dublin, have confirmed that they will be running again. 

Sinn Féin’s sole MEP Chris MacManus likewise confirmed that he would be running again in the Midlands-North-West constituency when speaking to reporters in Brussels in October.

And independent MEP Mick Wallace told RTÉ in November that he will be seeking re-election in Ireland South in June 2024. Another independent, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, told the Business Post that he also intends to run again.

Other new candidates have also thrown their hats into the ring.

In November, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen announced he would be seeking a seat in Ireland’s Midlands-North-West constituency.

Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly is also expected to contest for a seat in Ireland Midlands-North-West.

In recent weeks, Sinn Féin officially announced some of their candidates: Senator Paul Gavan will contest Ireland South while Senator Lynn Boylan and Dublin City councillor Daithí Doolan will be on the ballot in Dublin.

Other sitting MEPs have decided to step down and three have yet to confirm or comment on the matter.

Two sitting MEPs – Fine Gael’s Deirdre Clune and Frances Fitzgerald – have confirmed that they will not be contesting. 

Independent MEP Clare Daly has yet to confirm if she will run.

A full list of candidates will be made available and confirmed once all have registered.

What will the main issues be?

Housing and the cost of living were found to be the top-two issues the Irish public is concerned with ahead of the next elections, while there is an overall positive outlook on immigration, based on figures from most recent Eurobarometer in Ireland.

The same report, released at the end of December, found that Ireland is above the EU average when it comes to how positively it views the European project.

This is despite the fact that the view of a large part the Irish delegation in Brussels is that while the rest of Europe will begin to lean right, Ireland could see a huge surge in votes for Sinn Féin.

This belief could threaten seats of sitting MEPs, including Mick Wallace who said he would not be surprised if he were to lose out or have a close battle with the Sinn Féin candidate in Ireland South.

More Sinn Féin seats will strengthen The Left parliamentary group within the Parliament – which would see Ireland as an outlier compared to the anticipated increase of seats to more conservative, right-leaning groups from other member states.

It found that 83% of the Irish public are optimistic about the future of the EU – the highest ranking among the 27 EU member states, where the average is 61%.

Although this is a 2% drop from 85% in spring 2023, Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, speaking to reporters in Dublin last month, said this increase comes from “probably for a number of reasons”.

Kelleher told The Journal and other reporters at and event that these reasons included a rising cost of living across the continent, continuing environmental issues, “but predominantly the issue of migration”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has acted as a catalyst to increased pressure on member states in regards to migration, and the current conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza Strip will also be an issue prospective MEPs must prove they can handle.

Last month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the EU has “lost credibility” because of its response to the conflict in Gaza, despite Ireland’s strong stance to call for a ceasefire and begin peace negotiations – often conflicting their fellow MEPs.

Last month, a new EU deal was negotiated between the Parliament and the Council and looked to reform international protection and asylum laws was described as “cruel” and “catastrophic” by aid groups.

The agreement will seek to relieve pressure on so-called frontline countries like Italy and Greece by relocating some arrivals to other EU states. Varadkar said Ireland would decide in the new year whether it would opt in or opt out of the arrangement and called the idea “a solid one”.

“Every country in the European Union is facing an increasing number of people seeking international protection. That is hard to manage,” he said.

Although, the same report that there has been an overarching shift, within the European public sentiment, regarding immigration and EU enlargement, with decreased levels of positivity and support.

However, although there is a downward shift in positive sentiment, the Irish public remains one of the most positive in the EU27 regarding their attitude towards immigration.

When asked whether immigration from outside the EU generates positive feelings, results from Ireland show that 65% of the public have a positive attitude towards it.

While all categories which quantified attitudes and aspects of immigration policy by the Irish public, saw a slight decrease when compared to spring 2023 – Ireland still shows much higher positivity compared to the EU27 average of 43%. 

The report found that the number one issue among the Irish public was housing with 56% citing this as a key concern. On average across the EU, only 10% of respondents said housing was a key national concern.

Rising prices, inflation and the cost of living is the second most important issue facing the Irish public with 55% of Irish respondents citing this as a key concern. This is up a dramatic 11% since Spring 2023. The EU average is 44%.

62% of Irish people claim to feel informed on European matters which ranks Ireland fourth compared to the EU average of 36%.


This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

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