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Who's running in your area? Shutterstock
Time To Vote

Who's running for the council in your area? Here's how to find out

A quick guide to figuring out which local electoral area you’re in and who’s running.


Election day is here and the polls are open until 10pm tonight.

It’s time to choose your candidates for the local and European elections.

The European elections are pretty high profile, and The Journal’s European election candidate database sets out who’s running in each constituency and the issues they’re campaigning on

By contrast, it can be a bit trickier to find out who you can vote for in your local area, so here’s a quick guide, with a few links to resources you might find handy.

What exactly am I voting for here?

Local authorities (that’s city and county councils) are divided up into smaller “local electoral areas” sometimes known as wards or municipal districts.

The reason this matters on polling day is that you can’t vote for everyone running for election to your council.

Rather you can only vote for candidates running for election in your local electoral area, so they’re the ones you’ll want to familiarise yourself with.

These will probably be the people whose posters you see closest your home, and the ones who have dropped leaflets in the door or come canvassing for your vote.

How do I find who’s running in my area?

To be honest, it’s not straightforward.

It’s up to each council to publish this information and their efforts are of varying degrees of clarity and helpfulness.

Bualadh bos for Clare County Council, for example, which has done a nice job of segregating the candidates by electoral area, with drop down menus and photos of the runners and riders. Unfortunately several other councils have not presented the information quite so clearly.

The Electoral Commission has provided links to each of the local authority lists of candidates, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

Annoyingly, several of these are long PDFs that are hard to search (we’re looking at you, Dublin City Council, and you Mayo County Council), but they all break down the candidates by electoral area.

Luckily, other resources are available. Women for Election, which campaigns for there to be more women in politics, has built a map-based tool (works better on mobile) that gives the candidates running in each local electoral area by gender and party. 

The news media is doing a lot to improve the legibility of these local elections. Local media have provided handy guides to who’s running where, such as the Echo’s rundown for South Dublin County Council or the Dublin Inquirer’s database for Fingal and Dublin city. The Meath Chronicle has published detailed profiles of the county’s six electoral areas, the candidates running and the issues on the ground.

At national level, the Irish Times and Irish Independent have compiled excellent databases broken down by electoral area.

I’m still confused because I don’t know which local electoral area I’m in.

This information should probably be provided on polling cards, but unfortunately it isn’t.

However, you can easily find it out with a small bit of research.

There may be a map on your local authority website, like this super snazzy interactive one for Donegal (works better on a computer than on a mobile) and this comprehensive, townland-level one for Offaly, or the list of which neighbourhoods lie in which wards for Cork City Council. If you Google the name of your local authority and “local electoral areas” you should find something along these lines.

But the handiest thing is probably to use the literature that comes in your door to guide you: council candidates will usually name the local electoral area they’re running in on the pamphlets they stick through your letterbox.

Alternatively, you could look up any candidates whose posters you see in your locality and find out the name of the ward that way.

When you know who’s running in your locality, you can look up candidates’ websites and social media to find out more about what they stand for and what they want for your area, which they’ll be representing for the next five years, and for the wider county (or city as the case may be).

Here on The Journal we’ve analysed the main political parties’ local election manifestos and those of the smaller parties too.

And if you’re wondering what exactly councillors do, we’ve already got a short explainer answering that question (and how much they get paid) ready for you.

Anything else to remember? 

You don’t need a polling card to vote: just rock up to your polling station between befire 10pm with some ID.

The name of your polling station is on your polling card.

If you’ve lost your card, type your details into the register of electors to find out where your polling station is – and if you’re not registered for this election you can get registered for the next election on the same website.

The Journal’s EU candidate database can be accessed here:

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