Former Mayor of Galway, Cllr Pearce Flannery has issued a strong call of all local election candidates to enter into a voluntary code of conduct that ensures that all candidates desist from using election posters in the forthcoming local elections.
Cllr Flannery was successful at the City Council meeting of 12 November 2018 in getting a motion passed by the majority of councillors banning the use of election posters.
The motion read — In supporting a cleaner and safer environment, Galway City Council commits to develop and implement a bye-law prohibiting the use of election posters or the posting of any type of politically motivated election material on public facilities or in publicly controlled spaces throughout the Galway City area subject to legal advice.
However subsequent legal advice has stated that this motion banning election posters in Galway city is unenforceable as local bye-laws may not be enacted because the matter is already governed by existing law including; in this instance, the prohibition of the erection or distribution of election material.
The legal opinion did state that a protocol on the erection of posters could be agreed on a voluntary basis by candidates, as has happened, for example, recently at municipal district level in counties Wicklow and Limerick.
As a result Cllr Flannery has issued his call to all candidates to come out and publicly state that they will not use election posters in a bid to avoid the situation where a previous proposed voluntary ban on posters in Eyre Square, in the city centre pedestrianised areas and along the Promenade in Salthill in advance of the local elections in 2014 ultimately proved unsuccessfulwhen initial breaches of the voluntary ban by some local and European candidates led eventually to widespread postering in all areas.
“I myself reluctantly had to erect posters as everybody else was doing it. The issue to me is simple. If every candidate commits to avoid using posters then it is a level playing field for all and everybody wins. If one person breaks the code then it becomes a free for all where every candidate must use posters in order to be competitive. It is a case of on in all in,” he said.
“There are significant environmental concerns, road safety issues and the hugely negative impact on tourism caused by using these cori-board posters and in reality we do not need to do so.
“Surely in the 21st century we do not need to evaluate a candidates suitability for office by their ability to climb lampposts. Galway is a city that depends enormously on tourism for its economic existence and st the height of the tourist season to have these posters destroying the visual amenity of our city is nonsensical not to mention the negative environmental impact caused by thousands of these plastic posters on every lamppost. The road safety authority are also opposed to postering on health and safety grounds” said Cllr Flannery.