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European elections: What constituency am I in? Who can I vote for?

We’ve got you covered.

mep map Source: European Parliament

EVERY FIVE YEARS citizens of the European Union get the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in the European Parliament.

The elections will take place across the EU over a four-day period this month – between 23 and 26 May.

Each Member State sets its own election day and Ireland will be going to the polls on Friday, 24 May.

There are 751 outgoing MEPs who served in the 2014-2019 term, but fewer MEPs will be elected this time around: 705. The reduction is due to Brexit – Britain was due to leave the EU in March but obviously this didn’t happen. 

A decision was previously made to fill 27 of the UK’s 73 MEP places, and keep 46 vacant for possible future enlargement of the EU. This meant that Ireland got an additional two MEPs, bringing our total from 11 to 13

An additional seat is going to the Dublin constituency, bringing it to a four-seater; and Ireland South, which will become a five-seater; while Midlands North West will remain a four-seater.

However, the delay in Brexit could impact those two extra seats

We’re focusing on the European elections here – but Irish people will also be voting in local elections, a referendum about divorce and – if you live in Cork city, Limerick city and county, or Waterford city and county – directly-elected mayors. 

You can read more about those votes here

Here’s a round-up of what you need to know:

Are you registered? 

First up, are you actually registered to vote? You only have until Tuesday, 7 May, to make sure you are.

There’s slightly different criteria for each vote:

  • Referendum: You must be an Irish citizen and over 18
  • European elections: You must be a citizen of the European Union and were 18 years old on 15 February
  • Local elections: As long as you’re over 18, you’re pretty much good to go. Irish, British, EU and non-EU citizens are entitled to vote
  • Plebiscites: The same criteria as the local elections applies

Once you have that sussed, these are your next steps:

  • If you think you’re already registered to vote, double-check. Visit CheckTheRegister.ie and input your details there. If you can find yourself, you’re sucking diesel. You may need to try variations of your name and address before your information appears. If nothing works, and you’re fairly sure you are registered to vote, contact your local council’s franchise section and see if they can help.
  • If you’re not registered to vote, you’ll need a RFA2 form. It’s a simple form which you will need to bring to a garda station to be stamped (don’t forget to bring ID and also proof of address, just in case). Drop the completed form in to your local council before close of business on 7 May and you’ll be added to the supplementary register of electors.
  • If you’re registered to vote but have moved recently, get a RFA3 form. This will allow you to add yourself to the supplementary register at your new address. It’s the same procedure as the RFA2 form – grab some ID and proof of address, head to the garda station, get it stamped, and drop it in to your local county council.
  • If you’re already registered to vote but recently became an Irish citizen, update your details with a RFA5 form.

Constituencies 

The Republic of Ireland has three European Parliament constituencies: Dublin, Midlands North West, and South.

  • Dublin is a four-seat constituency covering Dublin city, Dún-Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin
  • Midlands North West is a four-seat constituency, comprising Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath
  • South is a five-seat constituency which includes Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow

One constituency covers all of Northern Ireland.

Candidates

There are 59 candidates running across the three constituencies.

Dublin

  • Frances Fitzgerald TD (Fine Gael)
  • Mark Durkan (Fine Gael, former SDLP leader)
  • Barry Andrews (Fianna Fáil)
  • Lynn Boylan MEP (Sinn Féin)
  • Alex White (Labour)
  • Clare Daly TD (Independents4Change)
  • Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party, Dublin City councillor
  • Gary Gannon (Social Democrats, Dublin City councillor)
  • Eílis Ryan (The Workers’ Party, Dublin City councillor)
  • Gillian Brien (Solidarity/People Before Profit)
  • Rita Harrold (Solidarity/People Before Profit)
  • Alice Mary Higgins (Independent, current Senator)
  • Eamon Murphy (Independent, pro-life activist)
  • Hermann Kelly (Independent, founder Irexit Freedom to Prosper)
  • Gemma O’Doherty (Independent, campaigner)
  • Ben Gilroy (Independent, anti-eviction activist)
  • Aisling McNiffe (Independent, carer)
  • Mark Mullan (Independent, humanitarian aid worker)
  • Tony Bosco Lowth (Independent, gardener and social entrepreneur)

Midlands North West

  • Mairead McGuinness MEP (Fine Gael)
  • Maria Walsh (Fine Gael, former Rose of Tralee)
  • Brendan Smith TD (Fianna Fáil)
  • Anne Rabbitte TD (Fianna Fáil)
  • Matt Carthy MEP (Sinn Féin)
  • Dominic Hannigan (Labour)
  • Saoirse McHugh (Green Party)
  • Cyril Brennan (Solidarity/People Before Profit)
  • Michael O’Dowd (Renua)
  • Patrick Greene (Direct Democracy Ireland)
  • Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan MEP ( Independent)
  • Peter Casey (Independent, former presidential candidate)
  • Dilip Mahapatra (Independent, doctor)
  • Fidelma Healy Eames (Independent, former Fine Gael senator)
  • Olive O’Connor (Independent, health advocate)
  • James Miller (Independent)
  • Diarmaid Mulcahy (Independent, business advisor)

South

  • Deirdre Clune MEP (Fine Gael)
  • Seán Kelly MEP (Fine Gael)
  • Andrew Doyle TD (Fine Gael)
  • Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fáil, Wexford county councillor)
  • Billy Kelleher TD (Fianna Fáil)
  • Liadh Ní Riadh MEP (Sinn Féin)
  • Shelia Nunan (Labour)
  • Mick Wallace TD (Independents4Change)
  • Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party senator)
  • Adrienne Wallace (Solidarity/People Before Profit)
  • Jan Van de Ven (Direct Democracy Ireland)
  • Peter O’Loughlin (Identity Ireland)
  • Breda Gardner (Independent Kilkenny county councillor)
  • Diarmuid O’Flynn (Independent, anti-bailout campaigner)
  • Liam Minehan (Independent, farmer)
  • Walter Ryan Purcell (Independent, tour operator)
  • Theresa Heaney (Independent, homemaker)
  • Paddy Fitzgerald (Independent, retired farmer)
  • Dolores Cahill (Independent/Irexit Freedom to Prosper)
  • Maurice Sexton (Independent, scientist)
  • Allan Brennan (Independent, project manager)
  • Colleen Worthington (Independent, homemaker)
  • Peter Madden (Independent, environmental educator)

You can read more about the European elections, and how voting rules vary across EU Member States, here.  

With reporting by Nicky Ryan and Michelle Hennessy 

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Órla Ryan

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