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37 2001


Chapter 3

Direct Election

Application of Chapter 3.

39. —(1) This Chapter shall apply to county councils and city councils and shall come into operation and have effect for the purposes of direct elections under section 40 in the year 2004 and from then on.

(2) Notwithstanding section 36 (4) a person holding office as Cathaoirleach immediately prior to the local elections in the year 2004 shall cease to hold that office on ceasing to hold office as a member of the local authority concerned.

Direct election and tenure of Cathaoirleach of county council and city council.

40. —(1) (a) Subject to section 41 , a Cathaoirleach of a county council or a city council shall be elected in accordance with this section and such election is referred to as a “direct election” and section 24 shall apply in respect of such election.

(b) For the purposes of a direct election there shall be one electoral area which shall consist of the area of the county or city concerned and it shall be called the county-wide electoral area or city-wide electoral area, as the case may be.

(c) The references in section 24 to local electoral area and local election shall, for the purposes of paragraph (a), be read as references to a county-wide electoral area or city-wide electoral area and to a direct election.

(2) (a) The Minister shall make regulations for the purpose of holding direct elections.

(b) Regulations under this section shall provide that direct elections are held on the same day and at the same time as local elections (except a bye-election under section 41 ) and may include any provisions necessary for the purposes of this section including—

(i) any matter for which provision may be made in regulations under section 27 ,

(ii) provisions for the purposes of a bye-election under section 41 including the fixing by the Minister of the polling day and times of voting.

(iii) any other provisions necessary for or connected with the holding of a direct election.

(c) Regulations under this section may be made separately or as one with regulations under section 27 and subsections (3) to (8) of that section shall apply to regulations made under this section.

(3) (a) If a direct election is contested, a poll shall be taken, each local government elector having one transferable vote.

(b) In this subsection “transferable vote” has the meaning given to it by section 37 of the Electoral Act, 1992 .

(4) A person who is not eligible for election to a local authority, or to whom a disqualification referred to in section 13 or 182 or in section 20 of the Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expenditure) Act, 1999 , applies, or who is a member of either House of the Oireachtas, is disqualified from being elected or from being a Cathaoirleach.

(5) Subject to subsection (8), sections 33 and 34, a Cathaoirleach elected in accordance with this section at a direct election held in conjunction with a local election shall come into office as Cathaoirleach on the same day as he or she comes into office as a member of the local authority and shall hold office as Cathaoirleach until the next ordinary day of retirement of members of that authority.

(6) A person elected by direct election as Cathaoirleach in accordance with this section shall not hold office for more than 2 consecutive terms (excluding any period under section 41 ) and shall be disqualified from election as Cathaoirleach at an election which would provide a third consecutive term.

(7) Where a person is elected Cathaoirleach by direct election and such person is not elected as a member of the local authority then for so long and only for so long as such person is Cathaoirleach and is not such a member, he or she shall for all purposes of this Act by virtue of this subsection be deemed for that period to be a member of the local authority and the number of members of that authority shall accordingly be increased by one for such period.

(8) A Cathaoirleach elected in accordance with this Chapter shall upon ceasing for any reason to be a member of the local authority concerned cease also to be the Cathaoirleach of such authority.

(9) In this section a reference to a person being disqualified from being elected as Cathaoirleach shall be read as including a disqualification from nomination for election as Cathaoirleach.

Casual vacancy in office of Cathaoirleach of county council or city council.

41. —(1) In any case where at the time of a casual vacancy occurring in the office of Cathaoirleach of a county council or city council the term of office then remaining exceeds 12 months, a bye-election shall be held to fill that vacancy by direct election in accordance with section 40 .

(2) In any other case, the council shall elect as Cathaoirleach a person from among their number and section 37 shall apply to such election.

(3) A person elected to fill a casual vacancy in the office of Cathaoirleach shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office of his or her predecessor.

(4) Regulations under section 40 may include provisions in relation to the filling of casual vacancies and related matters.

Amendments to certain Acts, relating to direct elections, etc.

42. —The Electoral Act, 1992 , the Electoral Act, 1997 , and the Litter Pollution Act, 1997 , are amended in the manner stated in Schedule 9.

Election petitions in relation to direct elections.

43. —(1) The Local Elections (Petitions and Disqualifications) Act, 1974 (in this section referred to as the “Act of 1974”), shall apply to direct elections as if references to local elections were to read as references to direct elections.

(2) For the purpose of the application by virtue of this section of the Act of 1974 to direct elections—

(a) section 8(2) of that Act shall apply as if “ section 40 of the Local Government Act, 2001”, were substituted for “section 82 of the Act of 1963”, and

(b) section 15(3) of that Act shall apply as if “filled by bye-election under section 41 (1) of the Local Government Act, 2001, unless subsection (2) of that section applies.” were substituted for “filled as casual vacancies.”.