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Local Elections

A guide to Wicklow County Council and how local elections work.

Wicklow County Council has 32 members. Co. Wicklow is divided into five Local Electoral Areas (LEAs) for the purposes of local elections. An election is held in respect of each LEA for the number of council members assigned to that area.

Details of the five local electoral areas are set out below:

Area No. of seats Population Electorate*
Arklow 6 seats 25,450 16,588
Baltinglass 6 seats 25,267 18,501
Bray 8 seats 34,335 23,290
Greystones 6 seats 24,846 16,392
Wicklow 6 seats 26,742 18,110

* the electorate will change as supplementary electors are added and the names of deceased persons are removed

The Council has recently adopted a new polling scheme, which divides the county/LEAs into convenient geographical units (called polling districts) and appoints a polling place for each district.

Eligibility for election

Every Irish citizen and every person ordinarily resident in the State, who has reached the age of 18, who is not subject to any of the disqualifications outlined below, is eligible for election or co-option to and membership of a local authority:

The following individuals are disqualified:

  • A member of the Commission of the European Communities
  • A member of the European Parliament
  • A Judge, Advocate General or Registrar of the Court of Justice of the European Communities
  • A member of the Court of Auditors of the European Communities
  • A member of Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann
  • A Judge or the Comptroller and Auditor General appointed under the Constitution
  • A member of the Garda Síochána
  • A wholetime member of the Defence Forces
  • A civil servant who is not by the terms of his or her employment expressly permitted to be a member of a local authority
  • A person employed by a local authority and is not the holder of a class, description or grade of employment designated by order under section 161(1)(b) of the Local Government Act 2001
  • A person employed by the Heath Service Executive and is at a grade or of a description of employment designated by order of the Minister for Health
  • A person undergoing a sentence of imprisonment for any term exceeding six months imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in the State
  • A person who fails to pay any sum or any portion of any sum charged or surcharged by an auditor of the accounts of any local authority upon or against that person
  • A person who fails to comply with a final judgement, order or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, for payment of money due to a local authority
  • A person who is convicted of, or has had a conviction confirmed on appeal for, an offence relating to fraudulent or dishonest dealings affecting a local authority or corrupt practice or acting when disqualified

A person in any of the categories listed above is also disqualified from nomination for election.

Conducting local elections

The responsibility for conducting the election rests with the local authority returning officer. The cost of running the election is met by the local authority.

Notice of Election

The Notice of Election is published not later than the 28th day before the polling day. This gives the public notice of the following matters:

  • The times for receiving nominations
  • The amount of the deposit
  • The times and place at which nomination papers may be obtained
  • The times and place at which the returning officer will attend to receive nominations
  • The day and the period fixed for the holding of the poll if the election is contested
Nomination of candidates

Persons may nominate themselves or be nominated by a local government elector registered in the area concerned. A person can be nominated to stand in more than one area. A nomination form from a candidate of a registered political party must have a certificate of political affiliation attached. If no certificate is attached, the form must be assented to by 15 persons (excluding the candidate and any proposer) registered in the local electoral area concerned or alternatively a deposit must be paid by the candidate or his proposer by way of cash or a bank draft to the Returning Officer. The amount of the deposit is €100.

A candidate may include party affiliation on the nomination paper. If the candidate has no party affiliation, the person may be described as "Non-Party" or may leave the appropriate space blank.

The candidate or proposer is responsible for ensuring that the completed nomination paper is delivered in person to the returning officer before the closing time for receipt of nominations at the election.

The returning officer must rule on the validity of a nomination paper within one hour of its presentation and may rule that it is invalid if:

  • In the case of a nomination paper of a candidate who is not a member of a political party, the nomination is not assented to in the manner required, and/or
  • The nomination paper of any candidate is not properly made out or signed
  • The returning officer is required to object to the description of a candidate which is, in the officer’s opinion, incorrect, insufficient to identify the candidate or unnecessarily long

The candidate or the returning officer may amend the particulars shown on the nomination paper.

If any deposit due in respect of the nomination of a candidate in any local electoral area is not deposited in respect of any such local electoral area before the deadline for the receipt of nominations, the candidature of that candidate for that local electoral area shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.

Election posters (time limits)

There is a requirement for candidates to remove all posters within seven days of the poll.