Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Ceisteanna (288)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

288. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the guidelines and spending limits that will apply for the local elections in May 2019; his plans to issue further guidelines in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14363/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act 1999, as amended by Part 2 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, provides for an expenditure and donations disclosure regime at local elections. Section 12A of the Act makes provision for three population bands with local electoral area spending limits of €13,000, €11,500 and €9,750 respectively.

A summary of the population bands and candidate spending limits that will apply at the local elections in May 2019 is set out in the table below.

Local Electoral Area

Candidate Spending Limit

Population in excess of 35,000

€13,000

Population between 18,001 and 35,000

€11,500

Population of 18,000 or less

€9,750

Under section 12A of the Act, candidates nominated by a political party are deemed to automatically allocate 10% of their spending limit to the national agent of the political party. The 10% figure can be varied upwards or downwards by written agreement between the candidate and the national agent of the political party.

Section 12B of the Act provides that the period for the reckoning of election expenses, during which the spending limits apply, is to commence between 50 and 60 days prior to polling day. The date of commencement of the spending period is set out in an order made before the local elections. In this context, Minister Murphy made the polling day order on 25 March 2019 announcing a polling day of 24 May 2019 and an order setting the spending period will be published shortly.

In addition, under section 18(6) of the Act, local authorities must draw up and publish to persons to whom the Act applies, guidelines concerning the steps to be taken by them to ensure compliance with the Act generally. To support local authorities in this regard, my Department is preparing draft guidelines which local authorities may then make available. These draft guidelines are expected to issue to local authorities shortly.