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Candidates in next year’s European elections are likely to need a budget of € 100,000 to run an effective campaign following the redrawing of the State’s constituency boundaries, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has told the AEJ.

Mr Hogan said higher profile candidates would have a “distinct advantage” in the new three-constituency system, particularly those running outside Dublin, and that it would be difficult to get elected on “a shoestring” budget.

He told a meeting of the AEJ on Wednesday, October 2 that the European elections could become more like presidential ones, where personality plays a significant role and party a lesser one, as some candidates would be trying to penetrate an area stretching from Carlingford to the Aran Islands.

“I think it will be difficult perhaps for independent candidates to mount a campaign unless they have a substantial amount of reserves available to them to generate the exciting type of campaign that will be necessary,” he said.

He added that candidates without “an organisation on the ground” or without “human capital available” could struggle to make an impact.

Mr Hogan also said legislation on local government reform would be published within the next fortnight. He said he was looking at what areas of responsibility could be devolved from national to local government.

The Minister said he expected people would have more interest in local government as the money they were paying in the property tax would be used to fund services in their areas.