Next Irish general election
The next Irish general election must take place no later than 3 April 2016. The election will be called following the dissolution of the 31st Dáil by the President, at the request of the Taoiseach. The electorate will elect the members of the 32nd Dáil who will assemble shortly afterwards to elect a Taoiseach following agreement on the Government of the 32nd Dáil.
The current statutory framework for the setting of a date for polling day in the general election is set out in the Electoral Act 1992 (as amended). Section 33 of that Act requires that the Dáil be dissolved within five years after its first meeting following the previous election, which was on 9 March 2011. Section 96 requires that the poll is held, not earlier than the seventeenth day or later than the twenty-fifth day, following the day on which the writs for the election are issued. The writs for the election are issued by the Clerk of the Dáil on the day the Dáil is dissolved.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny suggested at a press conference in September 2013 that the next election would be in March 2016.[nb 5] This was in the context of speculation that the Labour Party was unhappy with the coalition government's progress and might consider withdrawing and forcing an early election.
Ireland uses proportional representation with a single transferable vote, also known as PR–STV. The general election will take place throughout the state to elect 158 members of Dáil Éireann, a reduction of 8 from the current 166 members. This follows the passing of the Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013. The Ceann Comhairle is automatically re-elected unless he opts to retire from the Dáil. The election will take place in 40 parliamentary constituencies. Each multi-member constituency returns no fewer than three, and no more than five Teachtaí Dála (Dáil deputies).
The current government (since 9 March 2011) consists of a Fine Gael–Labour Party coalition headed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, People Before Profit Alliance, Socialist Party, Workers and Unemployed Action Group, and independents form the opposition in the Dáil.
The following members of the 31st Dáil have announced that they will not contest the next general election:
|Dublin West||Joe Higgins||Socialist Party|
|Donegal South–West||Dinny McGinley||Fine Gael|
|Dublin South–East||Ruairi Quinn||Labour Party|
|Louth||Séamus Kirk||Fianna Fáil|
Poll results are listed in the table below in reverse chronological order, showing the most recent first. The figures are for first-preference votes, as STV is a ranked voting system. All figures displayed are percentages.
|Date||Polling Firm||Fine Gael||Labour||Fianna Fáil||Sinn Féin||Green||Others||Lead|
|19-21 Jan||RED C||24||9||19||20||N/A||28||4|
|12-13 Jan||RED C||24||8||18||21||1||28||3|
|21 Dec||RED C||21||6||19||24||N/A||30||3|
|21 Dec||Millward Brown||22||5||18||21||N/A||32||1|
|21 Dec||Behaviour & Attitudes||24||5||18||22||1||29||2|
|4 Dec||Ipsos MRBI||19||6||21||22||3||29||1|
|23 Nov||RED C||22||8||18||22||3||27||0|
|2 Nov||Millward Brown||22||7||20||26||2||23||4|
|26 Oct||Behaviour & Attitudes||25||9||18||19||3||25||6|
|26 Oct||RED C||26||8||18||20||2||28||6|
|9 Oct||Ipsos MRBI||24||9||20||24||N/A||23||0|
|21 Sep||Millward Brown||25||9||21||22||1||23||3|
|14 Sep||RED C||28||8||18||23||2||23||5|
|17 Aug||Behaviour & Attitudes||24||14||18||19||1||24||5|
|3 Aug||Millward Brown||25||7||20||24||1||23||1|
|29 Jun||RED C[p 1]||25||7||18||22||2||26||3|
|9–12 Jun||RED C||22||4||18||22||2||30||0|
|23 May||European Election||22.28||5.3||22.31||19.5||4.9||25.7||0.03|
|23 May||Local Elections||24.0||7.2||25.3||15.2||1.6||26.7||1.3|
|12–14 May||RED C||25||8||20||20||2||25||5|
|28 Apr–1 May||RED C||25||11||21||18||N/A||25||4|
|19 Apr||Behavior & Attitudes||21||9||20||20||4||26||1|
|1–2 Apr||Ipsos MRBI||25||8||25||21||N/A||21||0|
|30 Mar||RED C||26||9||22||21||N/A||22||4|
|23 Feb||Behavior & Attitudes||30||9||19||18||N/A||24||11|
|23 Feb||RED C||29||11||22||16||N/A||22||7|
|19–21 Jan||RED C||27||9||23||16||N/A||25||4|
|9 Jan||RED C||28||10||22||18||N/A||22||6|
|3–15 Dec||Behavior & Attitudes||30||11||21||15||3||21||9|
|12 Dec||Ipsos MRBI||30||9||22||21||N/A||18||8|
|24 Nov||RED C||29||12||22||15||2||20||7|
|4–6 Nov||RED C||25||9||24||16||2||24||1|
|26 Oct||RED C||29||9||23||17||N/A||23||6|
|1 Oct||Ipsos MRBI||26||6||22||23||2||21||3|
|10–17 Sep||Behavior & Attitudes||25||11||21||18||3||23||4|
|9–11 Sep||RED C||27||10||23||17||N/A||23||4|
|24–26 Jun||RED C||28||12||22||17||N/A||21||6|
|11–24 Jun||Behavior & Attitudes||27||7||24||16||3||23||3|
|11–12 Jun||RED C||30||10||24||16||N/A||20||6|
|10–11 Jun||Ipsos MRBI||24||9||26||21||2||18||2|
|20–22 May||RED C||26||11||26||16||N/A||21||0|
|22–24 Apr||RED C||28||11||25||16||2||18||3|
|30 Mar–10 Apr||MillwardBrown||24||12||27||16||2||18||3|
|11–26 Mar||Behavior & Attitudes||27||7||23||15||2||25||4|
|24 Mar||RED C||28||13||24||14||1||20||4|
|24 Feb||RED C||28||12||26||16||2||16||2|
|5–6 Feb||Ipsos MRBI||25||10||26||18||1||20||1|
|27 Jan||RED C||28||11||21||19||2||19||7|
|15–21 Jan||Behavior & Attitudes||26||11||24||19||3||18||2|
|7–9 Jan||RED C||29||13||21||16||3||18||8|
|2 Dec||RED C||28||14||20||17||3||18||8|
|1–13 Nov||Behavior & Attitudes||30||12||22||14||3||19||8|
|28 Oct||RED C||34||13||19||17||2||15||15|
|18 Oct||Ipsos MRBI||31||12||21||20||2||14||10|
|23 Sep||RED C||32||14||18||18||2||16||14|
|4–9 Sep||Behavior & Attitudes||31||14||16||18||2||19||13|
|24 Jun||RED C||32||15||18||16||2||17||14|
|26 May||RED C||30||15||18||19||2||16||11|
|25 May||Ipsos MRBI||32||10||17||24||2||15||8|
|18–23 May||Behavior & Attitudes||33||14||16||17||2||18||16|
|18 May||RED C||32||13||18||20||2||15||12|
|13 May||RED C||29||13||19||21||2||16||8|
|29 Apr||RED C||32||14||17||19||2||16||13|
|16–17 Apr||Ipsos MRBI||33||13||14||21||2||17||12|
|11–17 Apr||Behavior & Attitudes||33||14||15||16||5||18||17|
|30 Mar||RED C||35||16||15||14||2||18||19|
|25 Mar||RED C||34||15||16||18||2||15||16|
|4 Mar||RED C||30||16||17||18||2||17||12|
|15–20 Feb||Behavior & Attitudes||33||13||16||20||2||16||13|
|29 Jan||RED C||30||14||18||17||3||18||12|
|12 Jan||RED C||33||16||17||14||2||18||16|
|7–12 Dec||Behavior & Attitudes||29||12||18||19||3||18||10|
|4 Dec||RED C||32||15||18||15||1||19||14|
|25 Oct||Ipsos MRBI||36||19||15||15||1||14||17|
|23 Oct||RED C||31||17||14||16||2||20||14|
|16–18 Oct||Behavior & Attitudes||35||16||14||17||1||16||18|
|7 Oct||Ipsos MRBI||35||17||16||18||2||12||17|
|20 Sep–2 Oct||Behavior & Attitudes||34||16||16||14||3||17||18|
|25 Sep||RED C||33||16||15||15||2||19||17|
|30 Aug–14 Sep||MillwardBrown||40||20||10||11||2||17||20|
|4 Sep||Behavior & Attitudes||44||12||15||13||2||12||29|
|15–18 Jul||Ipsos MRBI||38||18||18||10||2||14||20|
|29 May||RED C||41||19||16||11||3||10||22|
|10 Apr||RED C||39||18||16||11||2||14||21|
|25 Feb 2011||Election Results||36.1||19.5||17.5||9.9||1.8||15.4||16.6|
- The Ceann Comhairle (currently Seán Barrett) will be automatically deemed re-elected unless he retires from the Dáil.
- Gerry Adams became President of Sinn Féin on 13 November 1983, but only became parliamentary leader of Sinn Féin in the Dáil once elected to the Dáil for the first time in February 2011. Prior to that its parliamentary leader in the Dáil since 1997 was Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.
- The current constitutional position is less restrictive. Article 16.5 of the Constitution of Ireland requires that the same Dáil shall not continue for more than 7 years, but allows for a shorter period to be fixed by law (which is currently fixed at 5 years). Article 16.3.2 of the Constitution of Ireland requires that a general election for members of Dáil Éireann must take place not later than thirty days after the dissolution (whereas the law currently only allows 25 days). So in theory, or in some emergency, the legislature could amend or replace the Electoral Act 1992 to postpone the election for up to another 2 years and 5 days, or up to 8 April 2018.
- Saturday 3 April 2016 is coincidentally the last of the symbolic centenary dates for the 1916 Easter Rising from Easter Sunday 27 March 2016 to Easter Saturday 3 April 2016.
- Assuming that Kenny's suggestion proves correct, and that the election takes place on a Friday as has been the norm in recent years to facilitate turnout, and given that Good Friday March 25, 2016 is explicitly ruled out as an "excluded day" by Section 2 of the Electoral Act 1992, then the available dates would be Fridays the 5th, 12th, and 19th of March 2016.
- "Constitution of Ireland". Irish Statute Book. Attorney General's office. August 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013". Irish Statute Book. Attorney General's office. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Electoral Act, 1992". Irish Statute Book. Dublin: Attorney General's office. 5 November 1992. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Opinion polls
- Constitution, Article 16.6; Electoral Act 1992, section 36.
- "Electoral Act, 1992". Office of the Attorney General. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
- "Table of Contents". Dáil Éireann debates. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Beesley, Arthur (16 September 2013). "Kenny says next election will be held in March 2016". Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "Proportional Representation – Information". Irish Citizens Information Board. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
- Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2013, Section 2
- "Joe Higgins TD 'not retiring' from politics despite deciding against running in election". Irish Independent. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- "Support for Government parties increases in latest opinion poll". RTÉ News. January 25, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2015. -- Red C poll for Sunday Business Post
- "Government parties are up FIVE POINTS in the first poll of the year". TheJournal.ie. January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
The Paddy Power/Red C survey was carried out on behalf of RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke programme. ... The poll was conducted by phone among 1,002 voters between Monday and Tuesday of this week.
- "New poll suggests Labour leadership change has increased party support". RTÉ News. 16 August 2014.