EU Elections – The picture in Ireland
The European Elections will be held in Ireland on Friday 23 May 2014 on the same day as local elections. In Ireland a total of 11 MEPs will be elected in three constituencies: Dublin (three seats); Midlands-North- West (MNW – four seats), and South (four seats). Following the accession of Croatia, Ireland’s total number of MEPs has been reduced from 12 to 11. The North-West and East constituencies have been abolished. In this snapshot we look at candidates and potential outcomes.
Who is standing?
Of Ireland’s current batch of 12 MEPs, ten are standing for reelection. Current MEPs not standing are Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael – EPP) and Liam Aylward (Fianna Fáil – ALDE).
A total 28 candidates are contesting the 11 seats. Fine Gael (EPP) is fielding six (three of its four current MEPs and three more) and their government coalition partner Labour (S&D) is fielding three, one in each constituency. Main opposition party Fianna Fáil is fielding five, one in Dublin and two each in the Midlands-North-West and South constituencies. The Green Party and Sinn Féin, neither of which is represented in the current EP for Ireland (although Sinn Féin has one MEP in a UK constituency), are each fielding one candidate per constituency. The Socialist Party’s Paul Murphy is standing for re-election in the Dublin constituency. The far-left People Before Profit Alliance is putting forward one candidate, in the Dublin constituency, and the rest of the field is made up of five independents, two of whom (Nessa Childers and Marian Harkin) are current MEPs, the latter aligned to ALDE.
In Ireland, the election will be conducted under the Single Transferable Vote system of Proportional Representation in multi-seat constituencies (rather than the list system prevalent in many other Member States). This is the same system used for Dáil Éireann (Irish national lower chamber) elections. Under this system candidates appear on the ballot paper alphabetically rather than by party, and voters may rank candidates in order of preference (placing a 1, 2, 3 etc in the box next to the candidate’s name).