Airbrushed and grinning politicians beaming benevolently from election posters, stuck to every available lamp-post in the city, may about to be banned, but only if the politicians themselves vote for it.
A motion calling for the banning of election posters and election material is to come before the Galway City Council on Monday September 8, its first meeting after the summer break. The motion is one of a number which have been submitted by Fine Gael Galway West councillor Pearce Flannery.
Cllr Flannery's motion reads: “That Galway City Council lead by example in supporting a cleaner and safer environment and commits to implement a by-law banning election posters or politically motivated election material from all public facilities such as lamp-posts for a period of 45 days leading up to all local, national and European elections from here on in.”
Cllr Flannery originally floated the idea for banning posters during May's local elections. In the classic invocation of St Augustine's “Oh Lord make me good, but not yet”, he declined to remove any of his own posters during the campaign saying his call related to the post-election landscape.
With the seat now won and the General Election not coming until the middle of next year at the earliest, Cllr Flannery has again raised this issue, but the question is, will the other elected members go for it? Similar calls in the past have met with receptions that have ranged from frosty to hostile.
The FG politician has described election posters as “a blight on our landscape” and “environmentally unfriendly”. He also said the costs of such posters are “prohibitively expensive for many candidates not enjoying the backing of a party”.
Cllr Flannery argues that posters are an anachronism in the digital era and that social media presents election candidates with a new platform that allows access to thousands of people and is environmentally friendly.
“We live in an age of multi-media,” he said. “Surely it is time for candidates to display a little more innovative approach than littering our landscape in getting their message across. The physical, financial or resources of manpower should not be the defining catalyst for any candidate to get elected. Postering is a 19th century approach to the challenges of a 21st century democracy.”