Election poster ban in place in over 150 towns

April 24th, 2019

A voluntary ban on election posters is now in place in over 150 towns across the country following calls for the elimination of waste generated from candidacy posters.

Launched less than two months ago, the Poster Free campaign garnered significant public support with 101 towns banning election posters from their towns earlier in March.

The towns and areas to impose the voluntarily ban include municipalities in counties Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Donegal.

The campaign organisers reiterated their wish to see a nationwide ban on election posters, with over 90 political candidates also committing to go poster free.

The European and Local Elections take place on 24 May, with candidates expected to erect half a million posters on telephone poles and lamp posts across the country.

The campaign, which is strongly supported by local Tidy Towns groups, said that the positive response to its initiative is an indication of people’s frustration with the accumulation of waste generated from candidates’ publicity posters.

In 2014, just over 2000 candidates ran for 750 seats in the local elections, erecting over 600,000 posters, the equivalent of 23 Croke Parks.

Those posters have reportedly produced 360 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the same amount generated if an average car drove non-stop for 592 days. A similar number expected to be distributed this May during both local and European elections.

Promotional posters can also pose a threat to public safety by covering road signage leading to motorway accidents. Cyclists have also complained about improperly positioned posters that often block their path and put their lives in danger.

Under the country’s anti-litter legislations including the Litter Pollution Act of 1997, endangering public safety by inappropriately positioning promotional posters is an offence. 

Public outcry against posters first rose to prominence in the lead up to the Eight Amendment referendum where a Claire Byrne Live/Amarach Research poll found that 74 per cent of people want referendum posters to be banned.

Launch in Tralee of Candidates.ie, a website where voters can find out more about their local politicians running for election without the use of posters. Brian Stephenson, founder, with his two children Abby and Chloe Stephenson. Photo: Pauline Dennigan.

Karen Doyle, an Independent local election candidate running in Cobh where the new voluntarily ban is now in place, expressed her satisfaction about the increased number of poster-free areas.

 “With all the different parties and individuals trying to get their face out there on every second pole the entire place was becoming very littered leading to a type of poster fatigue,” she told The Green News.

Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan put down an amendment to the Government’s European Parliament Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019 to restrict the use of posters to designated public spaces only. The amendment was ruled out of order .

Almost all EU countries instead limit posters to designated areas, administered by their local authorities, and often dismantle them outside of election time.

A new website – www.candidates.ie – has been launched by NoteCloud, a technology company in Tralee, to make it easier for voters to find out about the candidates contesting the elections.

NoteCloud founder Brian Stephenson said: “We are involved in a number of environment and community clean-up projects locally and the issue of election posters has been raised more than once.

“We decided to try to solve this by building a user-friendly online directory and inviting candidates to create profiles and give a little info about themselves and their ideas,” he added.

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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