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Fine Gael TD fined €3,000 for littering with 'Keep the recovery going' posters

Dublin City Council brought charges against Noel Rock for breaking litter laws.

Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

FINE GAEL TD Noel Rock has been fined  more than €3,000 for breaking litter laws with his “Keep the recovery going” posters.

The 28-year-old Dublin North West TD and Public Accounts Committee member with an address at Hardiman Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 was summonsed to appear in court on nine counts under the 1997 Litter Pollution Act in relation to his posters.

The case was heard at Dublin District Court today. However he did not attend the hearing which proceeded in his absence.

The charges were brought by Dublin City Council.

Evidence was given by three litter wardens and the court was given photos of the posters put up around his constituency,  including ones with the TD’s picture and a slogan saying “Keep the recovery going” and other information about his availability at his clinic on 14 January last.

The court heard that two posters were unlawfully still on display at Prospect Road on 3 February last. Litter wardens spotted four more of the posters on 28 January at Iona Road, Griffith Avenue and Drumcondra Road. They found another one of his posters at Collins Avenue on 26 January last.

By law, it is forbidden to erect election posters until after the Dáil is dissolved and the polling order is signed for the general election – which only happened on 3 February.

Council litter wardens also found one of his election posters that was left up too long after the 26 February vote.

Fine Gael's Minister Bruton, Coveney and candidate Kate O'Connell, Richard Bruton and Simon Coveney in front of a sign saying 'Let's Keep The Recovery Going' in February Source: RollingNews.ie

Rock had been strongly critical of other political parties for putting up posters before the election was called, which he described as ‘illegal’ and littering’ at the time.

Judge John O’Neill noted that Rock had no prior convictions.

The offence can result in a fine of up to €4,000 per offence. Judge O’Neill imposed nine fines each worth €350, totalling €3,150. He also acceded to prosecution counsel Karen Denning’s application to order Rock to pay €221 in legal costs.

Rock, who was elected to the Dail in the 2016 general election, is the youngest Fine Gael Dublin TD. He represents Dublin North West, which includes parts of Drumcondra, Glasnevin, Whitehall, Beaumont, Santry, Finglas and Ballymun.

In 2006, the DCU graduate was selected to take part in an internship with US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Dublin City Council posters

Separately, independent councillor Cieran Perry pleaded guilty today to Litter Pollution Act charges in relation to posters with his picture and which mentioned a water protest in Dublin on 23 January last.

Litter wardens spotted them on 3 February and the council argued that they should have been taken down within seven days of the event. He claimed they were exempt as they were part of his general election campaign and he reused posters because he has limited resources.

Judge O’Neill said Perry, who represents the Cabra-Finglas ward in Dublin, was a decent man but the law was against him. However, he gave him a chance to avoid a conviction and told him the case would be struck out if he paid  €221 in prosecution costs and donated  €500 to the St Vincent de Paul before 17 January next.

Read: Will Dublin ban election posters? Maybe. Probably not. It’s complicated.

Opinion: The primitive power of election posters cannot be underestimated 

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About the author:

Tom Tuite

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