Friday 18 January 2019

Coming down... the posters put up too early

ELECTION candidates anxious to make an early impression with voters will be fined after putting up their posters hours before the 30th Dail was dissolved.

Sinn Fein's Dessie Ellis and Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton fell victim of Dublin City Council yesterday when their posters were ripped down from lamp posts, after they were placed there just hours before the Dail was dissolved.

Their respective parties will now be hit with fines of €150 for each poster erected before the dissolution of the Dail.

Current laws dictate that a candidate cannot put up posters until an election date is called and the Dail dissolved.

"It must be very frustrating for them, because I'm taking down these posters now while it would be perfectly fine to put them up in just a few hours time," said one council worker as he went about removing posters for Cllr Dessie Ellis in Finglas.

"But the rules are the rules," he added.

Council workers were seen photographing Dessie Ellis's posters at the Clearwater shopping centre in Finglas before taking them down, and Lucinda Creighton's posters were being removed in the Harold's Cross area.

"It seems someone in our office jumped the gun by a few hours," said Cllr Ellis, saying he was now expecting to be fined.

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council has issued a stringent reminder to general election candidates about illegal or dangerous posters.

And the local authority has requested politicians not to erect notices along O'Connell Street, Grafton Street and Henry Street.

Assistant city manager Seamus Lyons said "posters will only be permitted on suitable lamp standards" and must be taken down at latest seven days after the election.

"Any posters found to be in place at any time outside of these statutory timescales will result in the issuing of a fine of €150 per individual poster," Mr Lyons added.

He said the council adopted a protocol in April 2007 regarding temporary posters and notices on local authority property to advertise public meetings and events.

"This protocol prohibits the erection of posters on O'Connell Street, Grafton Street and Henry Street.

"In elections/referenda since that date, the political parties/candidates voluntarily agreed not to erect posters on those streets, and I am now formally requesting that a similar voluntary arrangement be put in place for the upcoming general election," Mr Lyons said.

During previous elections, complaints have been received from motorists and pedestrians "in relation to safety issues associated with election posters".

"Our own staff have also raised a number of concerns," he said.

The official warned against notices that obscure "the visibility of traffic/pedestrian signals and traffic signs" and those that are "below head height or resting on the ground".


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