“You’re not from Galway, at all.” Who may vote in local & EU elections?

Yesterday, Oliver Callan shared a video from the Galway Advertiser, filmed on 9th May and published on 13th May last. It depicts protesters confronting An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, while canvassing last week.


During the exchange with one of the protesters, Kenny responds by saying:

You’re not from Galway, at all.

The woman he’s addressing has an accent which could be from northern England. Callan, in his tweet, describes Kenny as having patronised the woman. The Galway Advertiser asks, “What did Enda Kenny mean by that question?”

This week, the week after this encounter in Galway, the news emerged of a state agency impeding the access of local election canvassers to voters in Direct Provision centres – a situation which remains unchanged.

Aside from the fact people from Ireland come in a variety of colours, accents and creeds, in any event this has very little to do with local and European elections. You do not need to be from Ireland to have the right to vote in local and European elections.

Who may vote in local and European elections?

All adults who are European Union (EU) citizens and are residing in Ireland may vote at European and local elections.

Every adult who resides in Ireland (including those from outside the EU) may vote at local elections only.

The full range and requirements of who may vote in Ireland (as of 17th September 2013) is set out at the Citizens Information website as follows:


Who can vote in elections and referenda?

You must be at least 18 years of age on 15 February, the day the Register comes into force. You must also have been ordinarily resident in the State on 1 September in the year before the Register comes into force.

While you may be entitled to register as a voter due to your residency, there may be a limit on the types of elections in which you can vote. The registration authority will need to know your citizenship because this will determine the elections at which you may vote.

The right to vote is as follows:

      • Irish citizens may vote at every election and referendum;
      • British citizens may vote at Dáil elections, European elections and local elections;
      • Other European Union (EU) citizens may vote at European and local elections*
      • Non-EU citizens may vote at local elections only.

*If you are an EU citizen, other than an Irish or British citizen, and you were not registered to vote in previous European elections in Ireland, you must also complete a declaration, Form EP1, to guard against double voting in the election. The local council will register you to vote in your local constituency and send the information in your declaration to your home EU Member State. You can also get the form from your local authority.

You must be registered at one address only and you must live at that address on 1 September before the register comes into force. If you live away from the address at which you are registered, (for example, if you are a student living away from home), you will need to contact the registration authority and give them your new address.

If you leave your address but you plan to return there within 18 months, you can continue to be registered there, as long you do not register at any other address.

Overseas voters

If you are an Irish citizen living abroad you cannot be entered on the register of electors. This means that you cannot vote in an election or referendum here in Ireland. (The only exception to this is in the case of Irish officials on duty abroad (and their spouses) who may register on the postal voters list).


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