A BILL which abolishes the need for a financial deposit to be lodged by candidates in elections was agreed in the Dail yesterday.
The need for the legislation arose from a High Court case which held that paying a deposit to stand for election was repugnant to the Constitution.
Until now candidates required a deposit of £300 to stand in a general election and £1,000 (pounds) in a European election.
Deposits have been part of the electoral law since 1923 and environment minister Noel Dempsey pointed out they were considered a necessary restraint to protect the integrity of the electoral system from non-serious candidates.
The minister pointed out the Irish system followed the British practice, aimed at reducing the number of "freak or propaganda" candidates "as they were then referred to".
Under the new Bill candidates not affiliated to political parties will have to have signatures from at least 30 supporters to be accepted.