herald

Friday 6 December 2019

Election posters could face ban in DCC exclusion zone plan

Posters in a previous election
Posters in a previous election

A ban on election posters in parts of Dublin through the establishment of "exclusion zones" is being considered by Dublin City Council (DCC) as a measure to reduce the number of posters used by candidates during elections.

Council chiefs have put forward the creation of specific areas where posters are banned to control the number of election posters erected in the city.

The council said the alternative of attempting to limit each candidate's number of posters would be "extremely difficult to enforce... if not unworkable" unless it was linked to a permit scheme that provided for a remedy in case of breaches of poster limits.

"Exclusion zones are the most manageable method of applying policy to the area as posters displayed within exclusion zones may easily be identified and removed," the council said.

"The city council does not have the resources to maintain counts of posters displayed or to inspect widespread locations on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance with such schemes."

The council claimed arrangements to ban posters already existed in O'Connell Street, Henry Street and Grafton Street under a poster protocol.

Respect

"The exclusion of poster displays in these locations has generally been well adhered to in election periods, where candidates and parties have been requested to respect this arrangement," said senior council official Simon Brock.

The council has indicated that exclusion zones could be set up on the basis of urban village centres, main arterial routes, specific speed limited areas or commercial centres.

However, it stressed that there is currently no legal provision to allow the council to fine candidates breaching rules on exclusion zones.

Election posters in inappropriate and unauthorised locations pose a hazard to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, as well as the visually impaired, when displayed below the regulation height of 2.3m, a council report said.

DCC issued more than €30,000 in fines this year for breaking rules on posters.

A total of 232 fines were issued to candidates for either putting up election posters too early or failing to take them down within seven days of polling day, with a possible maximum fine of €150 a poster for each infringement.

The exclusion zone proposals are due to be discussed at a meeting of a council committee tomorrow.

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