A Dáil election (general election) must be held within 30 days after the dissolution of the Dáil.The Clerk of the Dáil issues a writ to the returning officer (doc, 102kb) in each constituency instructing them to hold an election.
The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government appoints the polling day which must be between the 18th and 25th day (excluding Good Friday, Sundays and Public Holidays) after the issue of the writs. The Minister also appoints the polling period which must be at least 12 hours between 7:00am and 10:30pm.
Further information is available in the information leaflet - How the Dáil is elected (pdf, 229kb) or on the citizens information website
The responsibility for conducting the election in each constituency rests with the returning officer (doc, 102kb). The cost of running the election is met by the Department of Finance, from the Central Fund., based on a Charges Order made by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
The 32nd Dáil consists of 158 members who represent the 40 constituencies specified in the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013.
Constituency Review following Census 2016
Reviews of constituencies for Dáil and European Parliament elections are undertaken after each census. These are carried out by an independent Constituency Commission established when the Central Statistics Office publishes preliminary census results. A census was taken on 24 April 2016 and the preliminary results were published on 14 July 2016.
A Constituency Commission was established by Minister Simon Coveney on 14 July 2016, under section 5 of the Electoral Act 1997.
The terms of reference of the Commission are set out in Article 16 of the Constitution and in section 6(2) of the Electoral Act 1997 (as amended). The Constitution requires that the total membership of the Dáil is such that the average national population per member is between 20,000 and 30,000.
The Constituency Commission must present its report to the Chairman of the Dáil no later than three months after the final census results are published. These are due to be published on 6 April 2017.
Reports of previous Constituency Commissions can be found on the constituency commission website.
Counting of Votes
The count at an election commences at 9 a.m. on the day after polling day, at count centres throughout the country. A separate count is undertaken in each constituency. The ballot boxes are opened and ballot paper accounts verified. The ballot papers are then sorted and doubtful ballot papers excluded. The returning officer adjudicates on these, proceeds to count the first preferences and then calculates the quota. Subsequent preferences are then counted until all seats are filled. On completion of the count, the returning officer declares the results of the poll and sends on a certificate of the members who will serve in the new Dáil from that constituency, together with count details to the Clerk of the Dáil.
Posters may only be erected for a certain specified time period before an election. The period is from the date the polling day order is made until seven days after polling day. These requirements relating to election posters are set out in section 19 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997. Further information on election posters.