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19 May 2022  

NUI Seanad Éireann Election 2016 Information for Candidates



The legislation governing the NUI Seanad Éireann elections stems from Bunreacht na hÉireann, Art. 18.4(i). The relevant acts may be referred to as the Seanad Electoral (University Members) Acts, 1937 – 2015.

For the convenience of prospective candidates an election pack of relevant documents for candidates is available for download which includes the following:

  • Form of Nomination (Irish and English versions)
  • A sample completed Form of Nomination
  • An Post postal specification document for free postage scheme
  • List of NUI member institutions
  • Graduate Registration/ Update Form ( Irish and English versions)
  • Frequently asked questions as listed below

All forms to which the FAQ section refers are contained in the election pack download

Download Seanad Éireann Election Pack for Candidates


Who is the Registration Officer in the NUI constituency?

The Registrar of NUI, Dr. Attracta Halpin is, ex officio, the Registration Officer.


Who is the Returning Office for the NUI Seanad Éireann Elections?

The Senate has appointed Dr Maurice Manning, Chancellor NUI, as Returning Officer for the 2016 Seanad Éireann Election.


When does the Seanad Éireann election take place?

The Seanad Election takes place whenever a General Election occurs, and within 90 days of the dissolution of the Dáil. The 2016 Seanad Éireann Election will take place on 26 April 2016 (Close of Poll 11:00 am)


What institutions comprise the NUI constituency?

The Constituent Universities, Recognised Colleges and Colleges which were formerly Recognised Colleges (the latter only for the period when they were within the NUI federation) (see election pack).


Are all NUI graduates automatically eligible to vote in Seanad elections?

No. Graduates must be citizens of Ireland and must claim to be registered (registration is not automatic). The register in use for the April 2016 election is the register published on 1 June 2015 .



Who can be a candidate?

‘A person to be eligible for membership of Seanad Éireann must be eligible to become a member of Dáil Éireann’. Bunreacht na hÉireann, Art. 18.2 (Every citizen without distinction of sex who has reached the age of twenty-one years, and who is not placed under disability or incapacity by this Constitution or by law, shall be eligible for membership of Dáil Éireann. Bunreacht na hÉireann, Art. 16.1)


What does a candidate have to do?

A candidate has to be nominated, that is, must submit one completed Form of Nomination as prescribed on or before the date of close of nominations. Candidates may find it helpful to refer to sample of completed Form of Nomination (see election pack).


Do candidates have to pay a deposit or other fee?




What information is required in a Form of Nomination?

The candidate must give his/her name and address, and a description, which, ‘in the opinion of the Returning Officer, is calculated sufficiently to identify the candidate’. (Seanad Electoral (University Members) Act, 1937)

He/She must have a Proposer and Seconder and Eight Assentors. All ten must be registered NUI graduates (i.e. listed in the Seanad Éireann Register)

He/She must submit one completed Form of Nomination as prescribed (see election pack).

NUI frequently encounters difficulties in identifying on the current register (2015) the Proposer, Seconder or Assentors because their signatures are unclear. To help us to identify the individuals concerned, it would be very helpful if each individual could include his/her name in block letters in addition to their signature. Furthermore, if the candidate could include the Seanad Éireann Register number of the Proposer, Seconder and Eight Assentors with the form, this would will greatly assist us in positively identifying these individuals on the Seanad Éireann Register and would speed the process of verification.

Note: Candidates are advised to confirm well in advance that their Proposer, Seconder and Eight Assentors are registered NUI graduates i.e. that they are listed in the current 2015 Seanad Éireann Register.

May a registered graduate be Proposer, Seconder or Assentor for more than one candidate?

Yes, an elector may act as proposer, seconder or assentor for up to three candidates.


How does a candidate know the date of close of nominations?

The information will be available on the NUI website and will be published in the national press.
The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government will issue an Order, within a week of the dissolution of the Dáil, establishing three dates:

The last day on which the returning officers shall receive nominations in university constituencies shall be the 3rd day of March 2016.

  1. the date of close of nominations, usually approximately three weeks from the date of dissolution
  2. the date of issue (ie posting) of ballot papers
  3. the date of the election (close of poll)

What happens on the day of Close of Nominations?

All duly completed Forms of Nomination must be received by the Returning officer at or before 12:00 noon at the NUI Office, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 on the date of close of nominations.

While the Form of Nomination may be received prior to the official date, in any event all prospective candidates and/or, where relevant, their agents, will be invited to be present at the NUI Office on the day, and an information session for candidates and/or their agents will be held in NUI immediately following the close of nominations. The relevant officials from An Post will be invited to the information session to answer any queries about the free mailing-out of candidates’ election material.


Can anyone object to a Form of Nomination?

Yes. Any objections to a Form of Nomination will be considered and ruled upon by the Returning Officer not later than one o'clock in the afternoon on the last day for receiving nominations.

‘The ruling of the Returning Officer on an objection to a Form of Nomination or on any other question arising in relation to the nomination of the candidates shall be final and shall not be open to review by any Court.’



How does a candidate avail of the free postage scheme?

Candidates will deal directly with An Post.

Tommy Dunne An Post (Strategic Account Manager) 086-8151108 tommy.dunne@anpost.ie
Myles Burke An Post (Strategic Account Manager) 087-8508760 myles.burke@anpost.ie
Kate Dunne An Post (Account Manager) 087-1554834 kate.dunne@anpost.ie

Each candidate is responsible for the production and printing of his/her own election material for this purpose. The material must be in accordance with An Post’s specifications (see election pack).

All other mailing of campaign material, plus design, printing and packing, are at the discretion of the candidate and at his/her own expense.

An Post will require to approve final artwork not later than Monday 7th March by close of business. Once approved the candidate can proceed with arranging to print their material and to transport finished material to one of An Post’s list of assigned printers for personalisation. Finished material should be with An Post’s printer not later than Thursday 9th March by close of business.

This will allow sufficient time for An Post to personalise the material and to present the mail for onward delivery by Monday 21st March (the date of issue of ballot papers). An Post are not in the position to provide exclusive deliveries for any candidate given the short timeframe involved.



What is the format of the Ballot Paper?

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order on the ballot paper. Name, address and description (as stated in the respective Forms of Nomination) are required.

A candidate may, but is not required, to include a photograph; where a candidate chooses to use a photograph, it must be delivered with the completed Form of Nomination (see election pack).


Section 56(d) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001 amended section 20 of the Seanad Electoral (University Members) Act 1937 to allow for the inclusion of a photograph of the candidate on the ballot paper in a Seanad election. The Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Prescribed Matters) (Amendment) Regulations 2002, as amended by the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Prescribed Matters) (Amendment) Regulations 2007, set out the required specification of a photograph for inclusion on a ballot paper.

  • If a candidate wishes to have his or her photograph included on the ballot paper, they must provide with the nomination paper: A photograph in digitised format (jpeg) on a CD (passport size – 35mm x 45mm)


  • Two identical printed copies of the photograph.

The photograph must be taken not more than 12 months prior to the day for the closing of the poll and must be of good quality, in colour and taken to a professional standard, showing the candidate’s full face, head and shoulders only, on a light background (any colour).

Each printed copy of the photograph must have the candidate’s name clearly shown on the back. If the above requirements are not complied with, the returning officer may not include the photograph on the ballot paper. In these circumstances, or if no photograph is supplied, the space for the candidate’s photograph will be left blank on the ballot paper.



How and when will the ballot papers be sent to the electorate?

Voting Papers are issued by registered post on the date set out in the Minister’s Order. Because of the size of the two university electorates - currently 103,165 for NUI, and approximately 55,000 for University of Dublin (Trinity College) - delivery of the registered post may take a number of days from the date of issue. Delivery of ballot papers sent to addresses overseas may be slower, depending on local postal services. Candidates and their Agents are entitled to attend at the issue of ballot papers.


What happens if the elector is not at the address to sign for the registered post?

The postman (he or she) will leave a docket informing the addressee that the post can be collected from the Post Office; if uncollected after three days, the envelope will be returned to NUI. On request by the addressee, the ballot paper will be re-sent, again by registered post, provided the original envelope has been returned undelivered to NUI.  The ballot paper will be re-sent to the same address unless the elector requests in writing (email: elections@nui.ie, or by ordinary post: NUI 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2) that the returned ballot paper be re-sent to a different address. Preferably changes of address should be notified to NUI well in advance of the issue of ballot papers.


How will a candidate or an elector know the date, time and place of the close of poll?

The date of the close of poll will appear on the envelope sent to each elector and on the ballot paper itself. Agents of the candidates will be notified in writing of the time and place at which the count will take place. The information will also be available on the NUI website. The day and hour at which the poll in university constituencies shall be closed shall be the 26th day of April 2016, at 11.00 a.m. (votes must be returned by post)



What is the Seanad Register?

The Seanad Éireann Register is a list of the names, addresses and qualifications of NUI graduates (other than honorary graduates) who are citizens of Ireland and who have claimed to be registered to vote in the NUI constituency in Seanad Éireann elections. The Register is revised annually, for publication each year on 1st June, to include the names of graduates who have submitted Registration Claim Forms by the 26th February in that year.


How can I check if I am on the Register ?

Copies of the NUI Seanad Éireann Electoral Register are available in the libraries of the institutions within the NUI (see election pack). and in the National Library of Ireland. The register is also available for inspection in the NUI office at 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Queries of Confirmation of inclusion or otherwise in the register may also be made by telephone: 01 439 24 24.


Once the revised Register has been published, is it possible to amend an address?

Yes, a graduate may, at any time, ensure that his/her details are up-to-date by posting, emailing or faxing (+ 353 1 439 24 77) a change of address form (see election pack). Changes to addresses will not be taken over the telephone.

To prevent unnecessary distress to relatives NUI would appreciate being made aware of the deaths of NUI graduates.

Are names ever removed from the Register?


  • on receipt of written request by the registered graduate to have his/her name removed from the register
  • *on receipt of notification of the death of a graduate
  • as provided by the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001: ‘after reasonable enquiry by the registration officer, whose address or the address to which the ballot paper is to be sent is unknown’. (S. 56)

Please note that any graduate whose name is removed from the Seanad Register under this provision and who wishes to be listed as an elector again, must submit a Registration Claim Form in the prescribed manner.

*To prevent unnecessary distress to relatives NUI would appreciate being made aware of the deaths of NUI graduates.

What Register will be used for the April 2016 Seanad Election?

For the April 2016 election the register published on 1 June 2015 will be used.

Once the Dáil is dissolved, the Seanad Register in operation at that time will be the Register used for the Seanad Election. In the event that the date of dissolution occurs a short time before 1st June, the Registration Officer will consult with the Minister of Environment Heritage and Local Government as to whether the newly revised Register may be used.


Who may purchase a Seanad Register?

Anyone may purchase the Seanad Register, either as a hard copy or on disc (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Acts). The cost of the Register is calculated on a prescribed formula*, and currently costs €155 in either format.

The Seanad Register may be used only for electoral purposes

*Cost of Seanad Éireann Register
By Order (S.I. No. 290 of 2000) of the then Minister of the Environment, Mr. Noel Dempsey, the following Regulation became effective from 21st September 2000: The fee to be paid under paragraph (d) of Rule 15 of the First Schedule to the Act by an applicant for a copy of the revised [Seanad Éireann] register or any part thereof shall be fifty nine pence plus the sum of twelve pence for each one hundred by which the number of persons in the revised register or part thereof exceeds one hundred.
(Note: 59 pence = 75 cent; 12 pence = 15 cent)

The current Register, operative from 1st June 2015, contains the names of 103,165 electors. Using the prescribed
calculation*, the cost of this Register amounts to €155.00.

*Number of 100’s, or part thereof, by which 103,165 exceeds 100 = 1031.
1031 x .15 = €154.65
+ €0.75
= €155.40
Cost of Register = €155.00 (Rounding)


For further information please contact National University of Ireland. (see contact details below)