Cork's immigrant population encouraged to vote in May elections

Did You Know?

  • If you live in Cork city or county, you can vote in the local elections;

  • EU citizens can vote at European AND local elections;

  • Non-EU citizens can vote in local elections;

  • British citizens may vote in national, local and EU elections;

  • Councillors initiate action and promote the community interest, provide civic leadership and determine council policy helping to improve quality of life.

Cork City Council is taking its ‘Shape Your City: Use Your Vote’ initiative to immigrants  attending the Cork Migrant Centre at Nano Nagle Place this Friday, Feb 8 from 11-1pm. Amongst those who attend the centre on Douglas Street are asylum seekers who are living in direct provision in Cork.

Shape Your City Johnson Controls

The Cork Migrant Centre supports the integration of immigrants in Ireland with a special focus on those at risk of poverty, social exclusion, exploitation and discrimination. 

Over the five year period since 2011, only eight counties in Ireland recorded an increase in their non-Irish national population. Cork City saw the largest increase with non-Irish nationals making up 14.1% of those living in the city in 2016 - a rise of 17.2 per cent since 2011. The Cork City Profile 2018 also reveals that over 42% of the population living in Cork city centre are non-Irish nationals.

Cork City Council Director of Services, Paul Moynihan said: “Cork city is becoming increasingly diverse and it is vital that our new communities engage politically if they are to feel part of our city.  The ‘Shape Your City: Use Your Vote’ programme is aimed at informing people new to living in the city, about how to register to vote in the local & European elections and how becoming active participants in civic life can help enrich their quality of life”.

Stephen Murphy, Social Inclusion Development Worker at Cork City Council said: “Cork is a City of Welcomes and with this initiative, our message today is  simple: If you are living in Cork for more than six months you have a right to register to vote and we; with expert guidance from the Franchise Office in Cork City Council can help you to do that”.

Nationally, around 12% of the population is now made up of migrants but just 31 non-Irish candidates ran in the last local elections in 2014, with three being elected.


Cork City Council launched its ‘Shape Your City: Use Your Vote’ initiative in the second half of last year and has held registration events at Voxpro, Johnson Controls, Healthy Ireland's WellComm event, Irish Rail and the Kino. It is seeking to partner with more community groups, voluntary groups and businesses who can help it to increase the number of new voters in the city.

The ‘Shape Your City; Use your vote’ is a Cork City Council Community & Enterprise Department, Cork City Council Franchise and Atlantic Social Lab (INTERREG) initiative. It came about following a request from Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, IBEC, UCC, CIT, the Public Participation Network, and Cork Sanctuary City to better support the inclusion of people who are new to Cork City so they can contribute actively to civic life and influence how the city operates.