Back in the 1980s I was a huge fan and avid reader of Oink! comic. It was like a children’s version of Viz, but where Viz is vulgar and boorish, Oink! was anarchic, witty, and had clever satire of society and politics in a way adults could also appreciate.
The back page was usually given to the diary entries of five-year-old Hadrian Vile in which he espoused his views on contemporary culture “to show us how cleva he reeely woz”. I will never forget his scarily accurate description of children’s TV presenters in the 1980s: “grinning loonies in hideous jumpers”!
It is a phrase that comes back to me whenever there is an election as it means every lamp post in the city will be plastered with election posters - endless rows of rectangles bearing severely airbrushed faces, beaming down upon you beatifically, with only a hint of mania emerging from the eyes and teeth on display.
While I can appreciate the point of Labour’s Galway City East candidate Derek Nolan that posters are “part of the democratic process”, I also agree with Independent councillor Donal Lyons that they are unsightly and environmentally dubious.
There was an attempt recently (led by Cllr Lyons ) to get all councillors and candidates to refrain from putting up posters, but the opposition this met from Labour, some independents, and first time candidates, means it’s unlikely to be adhered to by the majority of those seeking election.
So are we to have Salthill promenade, University Road, and Renmore, etc, defaced by endless images of “grinning loonies”? Well yes, but not just yet.
Last week the Minister for the Environment John Gormley announced that election posters, for both the Local and European elections, may not be erected until May 6 - 30 days before the polling day - which means that April is free of them. He also added that all posters must be removed by June 12.
Certainly all of us are hoping for some good weather over the next month and into May and it is something of a comfort to know that we shall be able to walk the prom enjoying the sight of Galway Bay, the Burren, and fellow Galwegians (both native and newcomer ) without being leered at by the graven images of politicians - at least for the next three weeks.