herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Calls for ban on posters in race to Aras

A FIANNA Fail councillor has raised the prospect of banning presidential election posters.

Cllr Darragh Butler has tabled a question asking whether the notices could be prohibited in the Fingal County Council area because the candidates already receive enough coverage on TV and radio.

However, he may struggle to get his plan voted through as the council is dominated by Fine Gael and Labour.

Cllr Butler asked county manager David O'Connor for information on his proposal in light of the "constant TV, radio, newspaper and other media coverage" the contenders receive.

"Unlike local and general election campaigns which do not get the same nationwide and constant coverage, there is a strong argument that presidential election posters should not be required and ideally should be banned in our jurisdiction," he stated.

The two main parties in the election battle, Fine Gael and Labour, have already shot down another proposal for a poster-free election.

Independent hopeful Sean Gallagher -- who has limited financial resources -- wanted candidates to agree not to erect placards in the run-up to polling day at the end of October.

However, a spokesman for Fine Gael's candidate Gay Mitchell ruled out the plan.

Speaking to the Herald, Cllr Butler said the posters serve no purpose.

"They are a waste of money and are not really needed. That's the view I would have anyway," said the Swords representative.

"It's not the same as a local election or Dail election. For the presidential election, we'll all know who each and everyone is," Mr Butler said.

"It's a lot of expense to put them up and they don't look great. The candidates get enough free publicity. It's not like the local elections when the posters are important."

Already, the campaign has thrown up one poster-related controversy, with Independent candidate Mary Davis and Mr Mitchell coming out with the same slogan.

The two both unveiled placards with the catch line 'Pride at home. Respect abroad'.

Mr Mitchell's director of elections Charlie Flanagan commented that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

However, the Davis campaign said the slogan has been part of their message for months.

comurphy@herald.ie

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