The Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999 provides for an expenditure and donations disclosure regime at local elections. These guidelines are concerned with the statutory obligations for candidates, national agents, designated persons and persons unconnected to a political party or candidate (third parties) at the forthcoming local elections and are issued pursuant to section 18(6) of the Act.
Spending limits, first introduced for the 2009 local elections, were revised by the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The limit depends on the population of the local electoral area, as follows:
Population and Candidate Spending Limit
Population in excess of 35,000: 13,000 Euro
Population between 18,001 and 35,000: 11,500 Euro
Population of 18,000 or less: 9,750 Euro
Candidates nominated by a political party are deemed to automatically allocate 10% of their spending limit to the party’s national agent. For example, a party candidate with a limit of 13,000 euro would be deemed to automatically allocate 1,300 euro for use by the party. Their effective limit would therefore be 11,700 euro. The 10% figure can be varied upwards or downwards by written agreement between the candidate and national agent.
Election spending incurred during a period before the election must be reported to the local authority concerned and must be below the specified limit. The Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999 (Period for Reckoning Election Expenses) Order 2019 provides that the spending period for the 2019 local elections will commence on 30 March 2019 and will end on polling day, 24 May 2019, inclusive.