Yes vote for election posters part Laois but one councillor says no

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Election posters  in Laois

The row in Laois over erecting local election posters hit the Portarlington Graiguecullen municipal district meeting this month.

It led to an accusation of discrimination against new candidates, and a dire prediction of All Ireland final flags being banned as litter.

At the December meeting, Sinn Féin councillor Aidan Mullins proposed a motion that a 'no poster' policy by adopted by all candidates in the next local elections in May 2019 in that district. 

The Portlaoise district had agreed a 'no poster' policy last month, but this was effectively overturned by a narrow vote at the subsequent full county council meeting.

Cllr Mullins who is from Portarlington said that the plastic posters were "a blight on towns, villages and rural areas", created an environmental issue and were a waste of money. He said that he understood it was down to each candidate.

He was supported by Fianna Fáil Cllr Paschal McEvoy from Stradbally.

"There is no need for them, and the lads that do put posters up, their photos are ten year old. I hope you agree to do away with them this one time and see how we get along," he said.

Fine Gael Cllr Padraig Fleming was against the motion.

"A poster is a visible sign, half the councillors here are not on social media, people need to know you are out there looking for a vote," he said.

He said it was "discrimination" against new candidates in particular.

"What chance has a new candidate got if they can't let people know who he or she is. I don't know how any of them would agree to this, posters are not illegal," Cllr Fleming said.

"If adopted by everyone it will work. I don't care about new candidates," replied Cllr Mullins.

"If half put up posters in your area will you put them up?" Cllr Fleming asked him.

"No. I'm not putting up posters," Cllr Mullins said.

"It's the atmosphere of an election, if this continues you will have All Ireland finals with no flags," said Cllr Tom Mulhall.

"You're getting ridiculous here, you're talking nonsense," Cllr Mullins said.

A vote was taken and defeated three to two, with Cllr Ben Brennan absent, and Cllr John Moran voting to go with the general council's decision to allow posters.

The councillors' votes were not legally binding but merely an agreement between them. The litter act allows for election posters to be erected a month before elections and eight days afterwards.