Election posters are unsightly mess but necessary, says Green candidate

Titans Basketball U-16 Girls team reached the Galway Cup Final last week losing out to Maree. (Back l-r) David Hynes, Elle Sander, Indira Hynes, Amy Schuler, Anna Fitzgerald, Clara Keane, Sarah Deely, Edith Anderson, Gemma Brennan, Alan Brennan Front Row: Clodagh Rooney, Emilia Feeney, Siobhan Feeney, Niamh O'Malley, Millie Cunningham, Laura Casserly. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Titans Basketball U-16 Girls team reached the Galway Cup Final last week losing out to Maree. (Back l-r) David Hynes, Elle Sander, Indira Hynes, Amy Schuler, Anna Fitzgerald, Clara Keane, Sarah Deely, Edith Anderson, Gemma Brennan, Alan Brennan Front Row: Clodagh Rooney, Emilia Feeney, Siobhan Feeney, Niamh O'Malley, Millie Cunningham, Laura Casserly. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

In a candid statement, Cllr. Niall Murphy acknowledges the unsightly mess that election posters create and the environmental havoc they wreak. For local elections in June, poster will start appearing next week.

Cllr Murphy knows they are a huge waste of toxic plastic. “But to be very clear, I will be putting up posters in the forthcoming local election campaign. Unfortunately they are a necessary evil of modern Irish politics and if I choose to not put up posters, I would be effectively be withdrawing from the race.

“The only candidates that can afford to run a poster free campaign are the candidates who are already certain to be elected – and that is a very small minority.

“Some of my posters will be large stickers covering old plastic posters, and other candidates will be able to re-use posters from previous elections. But the use of posters still means that one election in Ireland can generate enough plastic to fill 23 Croke Parks.”

Cllr Murphy is aware that, like all Green candidates, this leaves him open to accusations of disregarding environmental concerns in pursuit of political success.

“Handing the election to my political opponents means I lose the chance to defend environmental and sustainable policies as a councillor.”

Legislation at national level is one solution. Senator Pauline O’Reilly initiated a bill in 2022 which would have limited the use of posters.

It allowed a local authority to select a set of specific locations where each candidate would get equal space to display photographs, slogans and policies. The bill was doomed. The parties with the deepest pockets want to be able to outspend less well funded candidates.

So the cross party support that would have been required to advance this bill was never going to happen. Cllr. Murphy commented “A national solution like this could save us from using 23 Croke Parks full of posters for a single election, and I really hope public pressure will cause this bill to be revived.

“There are community groups that designate some areas as poster free, and request that candidates do not poster there. I have not received any such requests yet and if I do, the first thing I will have to consider is which candidates will profit and who will lose out if that particular area is left poster free.

“I would also have to consider the authority of whoever is asking, and if they are politically motivated, or if they just hate election posters like I do. Other candidates will be making the same evaluation. Picking the ‘right’ areas to designate as poster free is as democratically dangerous as altering electoral boundaries, or slanting access to mainstream media – remember all politics is local,” he said.

 

Page generated in 0.3664 seconds.