Elections '19

Political parties still playing catch-up with public opinion on election posters, says Noel Tuohy

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Political parties still playing catch-up with public opinion on election posters,  says Noel Tuohy

Noel Tuohy with supporters, all

Not for the first time, the political parties are way behind the curve of public opinion on the use of election posters, said Cllr Noel Tuohy in a statement this Easter.

Cllr Tuohy has repeated his call on all political parties to stop using corriboard election posters, once and for all.

Cllr Tuohy says he was the first candidate in Laois to seek an outright ban on the use of plastic election posters. His motion at Laois County Council did not receive sufficient support or agreement.

Now the Portlaoise councillor has said that it is up to all the political parties nationally to agree to sign a pledge to ban election posters, so that everyone is competing in the forthcoming local and European elections on a level playing pitch.

Eleven towns in Laois through their tidy town's committees or other local community groups have called for all candidates to desist from using election posters, points out Cllr Tuohy, adding that the problem is that the request is not binding but voluntary.

"I am determined to stick to my commitment not to use these unsightly plastic posters. But it has much more to do than the optics and the gesture. These posters are not biodegradable and do lasting and permanent damage to our countryside, nature and the environment," said Cllr Tuohy.

"It is astonishing how far behind the political parties nationally are on this issue in the face of such a public demand to ban posters, not just in Laois but across the whole country. It shows a lack of leadership for political parties to be complaining about littering, illegal dumping, climate change and the environment on one hand and then on the other to be using tens of thousands of plastic posters and cable ties for these elections.

"They are not just damaging to the visual amenity this summer when the work of the local tidy towns is at its height, and contrary to the nonsense that they are only up for a few weeks, these posters last for hundreds of years and so does the damage they cause to the environment."

Cllr Tuohy said that election posters date back to a time when there was only one TV station and one radio station in the entire country and everyone had to wait for the daily paper to read the death notices.

"Now it is the planet which is dying in front of our very eyes, out own native species of bees facing extinction and yet some politicians continue to stick their heads in the sand" claimed Cllr Tuohy who maintains that there are countless other ways these days for all candidates to promote themselves, highlight their policies and ensure everyone knows they are contesting the elections.

"There are so many other platforms nowadays to promote your profile, posters are pointless and it is time we consigned them to history and for politicians to stop playing catch-up with the public who are setting the agenda on this most important issue of our environment, pollution, and biodiversity

"It is notable to see that it is students and young families who are out front and up front on this issue. They are heeding the warnings of climate change and have said enough is enough. It is interesting too to see the recent initiatives to reduce or remove plastics by major companies like Supermacs and Guinness. this is no accident. These companies realise what their customers want and demand but the political parties here haven't copped on yet. There are now over 150 towns in the country calling for election poster bans and that will only grow further," said Cllr Tuohy.

"I have imposed my own election poster ban to show support and solidarity with those campaigning for a better environment, but we can only succeed in combating climate change for future generations if we do this together. As the slogan says, THERE IS NO PLANET B.

"There is only one planet and for that matter only one Noel Tuohy and I'm asking voters to support them both come election day," quipped the Portlaoise councillor, who lined out with supporters sporting Noel Tuohy lookalike masks, as an alternative to posters, to help get his point across that there are plenty of alternatives to plastic posters.