Voting & The Political System

  • Voting

    Am I entitled to vote in Ireland?

    This depends on your citizenship. You must also ensure that you are included on the Electoral Register. The right to vote in Ireland is as follows:

      Local Elections European Elections Dáil Elections Referendum/Presidential Elections
    Resident Irish Citizen Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Resident British Citizen Yes Yes Yes No
    Resident EU Citizen Yes Yes No No
    Resident Non-EU Citizen Yes No No No

    How do I include my details on the Electoral Register?

    In order to be included on the Electoral Register you will need to satisfy two conditions. You must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age on the day the Register comes into force (15 February) and
    • Have been ordinarily resident in the State on the 1 September in the year before the Register comes into force

    You can get application forms from your local authority, post offices and public libraries. Applications for inclusion on the Electoral Register must be completed by 25 November.

    To check if you are on the electoral register you can also go to:

    What if I am not on the Register?

    If you are not on the Register you should complete the relevant form which you can find at: or you can get this from your local authority office. You must sign the form at your local Garda station and return it to your local authority.

    How do I vote?

    Where you vote depends on your address. Each street has a designated polling station. Before polling day (the day of the vote) you will be sent a polling card which tells you which polling station you will vote at. On polling day you should bring your polling card and photo ID to your polling station. You will be given a ballot paper which lists all the candidates. You fill in your ballot paper in the privacy of a voting booth.

    If you are voting in a referendum you will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You should put X in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box. When you are finished fold your ballot paper and place it in the ballot box.

    If you are voting in an election you should write 1 beside your first choice and continue down the list of candidates. When you are finished fold your ballot paper and place it in the ballot box.

    For more information go to:

  • Government in Ireland

    Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. The National Parliament (Oireachtas) consists of the President and two Houses: Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate) whose functions and powers come from the Constitution of Ireland. The Houses of the Oireachtas are situated at Leinster House, Dublin.

    Information about the Oireachtas is available in detail at:

    The President (Uachtarán na hÉireann) exercises his/her powers on the advice of the government. The President also has absolute discretion in certain matters, for example, referring a Bill to the Supreme Court for a judgment on its constitutionality. The President is elected directly by the people every 7 years. For more details about the presidency go to:

    The method of election to each House is different. The Seanad is largely an advisory body. It consists of members who are either nominated by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), elected by national universities or elected from vocational panels. The Seanad has the power to delay legislative proposals and is allowed 90 days to consider and amend bills sent to it by the Dáil.

    The Members of Dáil Éireann (called Teachta Dála or TDs) are directly elected by the people at least once every five years. Since 1922, it has met in Leinster House, on Kildare Street in Dublin. While, in principle, Dáil Éireann is only one of three components of the Oireachtas, in practice, the powers the constitution grants to the Dáil make it by far the dominant branch, meaning that most proposals passed by Dáil Éireann will ultimately become law.

    The Government is headed by a prime minister called the Taoiseach, and a deputy prime minister called the Tánaiste.

    For more information about the different government departments go to:

  • Local Government

    Along with the central institutions of the Oireachtas, the political system in Ireland also extends to local level government through local authorities. For a list of local authorities go to: http:/

    Local elections are held in Ireland every 5 years. At these elections, members of the local community elect Councillors to represent the community in local authorities.

    The elected council is the policy-making arm of the local authority. The day-to-day management of the local authority is coordinated by the county or city manager.

    What services do Local Authorities provide?

    Local Authorities are involved in providing a wide variety of services such as: Housing, Waste Management and Recycling, Libraries, Roads and Public Parks. For more information go to:

  • Membership of the European Union

    Ireland is a member of the European Union. Member states participate in common institutions so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made at European level. For more information about the EU see:

    The European Parliament is elected every five years by the people of Europe to represent their interests. Details of Irish Members of European Parliament (MEPs) can be found at: