We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File photo of people voting. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
vote 2019

Who's running? How do I get on the register? Everything you need to know about this month's Dáil by-elections

Voters in constituencies in Dublin, Cork and Wexford will be heading to the polls.

ON 29 NOVEMBER, by-elections will be taking place in four constituencies around the country to replace TDs elected to the European Parliament earlier this year. 

The date was confirmed last week by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy.

Here’s everything you need to know… 

Where are the by-elections happening?

These elections will be taking place in:

  • Cork North-Central 
  • Dublin Mid-West 
  • Dublin Fingal
  • Wexford 

When is polling day?

Friday, 29 November.

The writ (written order) for the by-elections was moved in the Dáil last Thursday.

Voters will be able to cast their ballots from 7am to 10pm.

Why is this happening now?

The by-elections are being held to replace four former TDs – Frances Fitzgerald, Clare Daly, Billy Kelleher and Mick Wallace  – who were elected to the European Parliament in May. 

The Dáil is required to move to issue a written order for the elections within six months of the seats becoming vacant. 

Procedure at these elections is the same as at a general election: the unoccupied seats are filled through a by-election, unless it is only a short time until the next general election.

Despite speculation to the contrary, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has repeatedly said a general election will not be held until next year, largely due to the instability caused by Brexit. 

Who is running?

Most larger parties each have one candidate running in each of the four constituencies. Many of the smaller parties are also choosing to put forward a candidate, although they’re picking their battles in only some areas.

It’s often the case in elections like this that candidates who plan to run in general elections also run in by-elections to increase their profile ahead of national votes. 

These are the candidates that have been announced so far. 

2957 Election posters_90571265 Posters from the elections and referendum held earlier this year. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Cork North-Central

  • Colm Burke (Fine Gael)
  • Padraig O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil)   
  • John Maher (Labour) 
  • Thomas Gould (Sinn Féin) 
  • Oliver Moran (Green Party) 
  • Sinead Halpin (Social Democrats) 
  • Finian Toomey (Aontú) 
  • Fiona Ryan (Solidarity PBP)
  • James Coughlan (Workers’ Party)
  • Thomas Kiely (Housing Rights & Reform Alliance) 

Dublin Mid-West

  • Emer Higgins (FG)
  • Shane Moynihan (FF) 
  • Paul Gogarty (Ind)
  • Peter Kavanagh (Green) 
  • Joanna Tuffy (Labour) 
  • Anne-Marie McNally (Soc Dems)
  • Mark Ward (SF) 
  • Kelly Sweeney (Solidarity PBP) 
  • Francis Timmons (Ind) 
  • David Gardiner (Workers’ Party) 
  • Ruth Nolan (Independents 4 Change) 

Dublin Fingal 

  • Lorraine Clifford Lee (FF)
  • James Reilly (FG)
  • Joe O’Brien (Green)
  • Duncan Smith (Labour)
  • Ann Graves (SF)
  • Tracy Carey (Soc Dems) 
  • Gemma O’Doherty (Ind)
  • Cormac McKay (Ind)
  • Glenn Brady (Ind)
  • Dean Mulligan (Independents 4 Change)


  • Malcolm Byrne (FF) 
  • Verona Murphy (FG)
  • George Lawlor (Labour)
  • Karen Dubsky (Green) 
  • Johnny Mythen (SF)
  • Jim Codd (Aontú)
  • Cinnamon Blackmore (Solidarity PBP)
  • Melissa O’Neill (Irish Freedom Party)  

What are the topics candidates are likely to asked about on the doorsteps?

While candidates – particularly sitting councillors – will be keen to highlight local initiatives they can expect to be asked plenty of questions on national issues like housing, rent and health too. 

Transport is likely to come up in all four constituencies too – particularly in suburban and commuter belt areas like Dublin Mid-West and Dublin Fingal (and, to a lesser extent, Wexford). 

Policies around climate change are also likely to be raised – particularly after the so-called green wave at the local and MEP elections earlier this year. 

The by-elections will likely provide some indications as to how people intend to vote at the next general election. Varadkar said May 2020 was “the right moment” for the country to go to the polls. 

90342330_90342330 A voter heading back from the polls in Dublin 8 at the by-election in 2014. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

When will we know the results?

The count centre for Cork North-Central will be in the Nemo Rangers GAA club. Wexford votes will be counted in St Joseph’s Club community centre in Bishopswater.

In Dublin, the Mid-West constituency votes will be counted in Adamstown community centre while the Fingal votes will be tallied in the National Show Centre near Dublin Airport. 

We could know the results by the evening of Saturday 30 November, but as always there’s a chance we could be in for a late night – or possibly even a recount or two.  

In the Dublin South-West by-election in 2014, voters cast their ballots on Friday 10 October and the final result was announced after eight counts at around 7.30pm on Saturday evening. 

How do I make sure I’m on the register?

You can check the draft register of voters online, at your local council office, as well as garda stations, libraries and post offices.

Anyone who wants to apply for inclusion in the supplement to the register of electors who is aged 18 or over on or before 29 November must fill out an RFA2 application form which can be downloaded here or can be gotten from your local council office. 

However, application forms need to be received by the registration authority for the voting area by today.

The form must be signed by the applicant in the presence of a guard from a local garda station. The guard will then sign, date and stamp the form after seeing identification. 

The form should then be given to your local authority

european-parliament-election Count centre at the RDS earlier this year. Niall Carson Niall Carson

What’s the likely impact on Dáil arithmetic?

According to our political correspondent Christina Finn:

“The Taoiseach has said that while he hopes Fine Gael can take at least one seat, he is not overly confident they can win more than that.

Fine Gael held one of the seats up for grabs (Frances Fitzgerald) while Fianna Fáil also held one (Billy Kelleher). Dublin-Fingal and Wexford were held, respectively, by Clare Daly and Mick Wallace. 

If either of those two constituencies go to Fianna Fáil then it makes little odds to the government as under the confidence and supply agreement, Fianna Fáil often abstain from government votes.

However, if those seats go to someone else, then there will be pressure on the government’s numbers as opposition members vote against government legislation. However it’s unlikely the government will be brought to a premature end in the coming months, no matter what the results of the by-elections.” 

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel