Over 100 towns move to ban election posters

Source: Greennews.ie

March 11th, 2019

A voluntary ban on election posters is now in place in over 100
towns following a campaign for the elimination of waste generated from candidates’
publicity posters.

Since its launch in February, the Poster Free campaign has attracted
significant public support with a new poll revealing that 77 per cent of television
viewers favoured the waste-reducing initiative.

The 101 towns and areas to impose the voluntarily ban include municipalities
in counties Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick. The campaign organisers now want
to see a nationwide ban on election posters.

In 2014, just over 2000 candidates ran for 750 seats in the local
elections, erecting over 600,000 posters, the equivalent of 23 Croke Park
Stadiums.

Those posters have reportedly produced 360 tonnes of Carbon
Dioxide (CO2), the same amount generated if an average car drove non-stop for
592 days. Similar number expected to be distributed this May during both local
and European elections.

Promotional posters can also pose
a threat
to public safety by covering road signage leading to motorway accidents.

Cyclists have also complained about improperly positioned posters
that often block their path and put their lives in danger.

Under the country’s anti-litter legislations including the Litter Pollution Act of 1997, endangering public safety by inappropriately positioning promotional posters is an offence. 

Public outcry against posters
rose to prominence in the lead up to the Eight Amendment referendum where a Claire
Byrne Live/Amarach Research poll found that 74
per cent of people agreed that referendum posters should be banned
.

Karen Doyle, an Independent local election candidate running for
Cobh municipality, where the new voluntarily ban is now in place, welcomed the new
initiative.

“With all the different parties and individuals trying to get
their face out there on every second pole the entire place was becoming very
littered leading to a type of poster fatigue,” she told The Green News.

Ms Doyle said that if candidates had to gather and recycle their own
posters or a limit to how many posters candidates could print, the issue would
not have turned into such threat to the environment.

Last week Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan put down an amendment
to the Government’s European Parliament Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019 to restrict
the use of posters to designated public spaces only. The amendment
was ruled out of order
.

Almost all EU countries instead limit posters to designated areas,
administered by their local authorities, and often dismantle them outside of
election time.

Ms O’Sullivan, a candidate for Ireland South in the upcoming European Elections, said that a similar system in Ireland would give equal space to each party, while still allowing citizens to familiarise themselves with the candidates and serving as reminders of the elections taking place.

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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