This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 26 May, 2019
Advertisement

Dalkey Tidy Towns won't be removing candidates' posters during the election campaign (despite saying they would)

The committee sent an email earlier today informing candidates that election posters would be removed.

THE DALKEY TIDY Towns Committee has confirmed that it will not be removing and destroying election posters put up in the town, despite earlier sending out an email saying that it would. 

The committee came in for criticism on social media and from a number of local election candidates over an email that was sent out to some candidates from its main account. 

The email contained a map with a red line marking the town boundary of Dalkey. The text alongside the map states:

NO POSTERS within this RED LINE. will be tolerated… NO POSTERS in DALKEY any put up will be removed & destroyed ASAP

The email itself also states that Dalkey is an election poster-free zone and repeats the statement that “All posters will be removed & destroyed ASAP”. 

However, when contacted by TheJournal.ie, spokesperson for Dalkey Tidy Towns Des Burke-Kennedy said that the email was sent by a member using the “wrong wording” and that the committee wouldn’t be removing the posters on the run up to the election. 

Burke-Kennedy said instead that what the committee meant is that if election candidates didn’t take down their own posters after the election campaign was finished, then volunteers would. 

“He just got it wrong. He got the wrong wording,” he said. 

“There was a suggestion that they’re going to be destroyed, and what he should have said is they are but after the election.

“What we’re saying is don’t leave them hanging up after the election because we spent hours climbing up ladders taking off cable ties and whatever.

And we just want them to know that. But it can be read the other way that we’re going to take them off during the campaign and of course we can’t do that it’s against the law.

Burke-Kennedy said that an email would be sent out clarifying the issue. 

Election posters are the private property of those who own them, removing them without authorisation could constitute criminal damage or theft and complaints could be made to the gardaí.  

The local and European elections will take place on Friday, 24 May this year. 

Candidates are legally allowed to erect posters from tomorrow, 30 days before polling day. All posters must then be removed within seven days of the election, or candidates face fines. 

Dalkey includes itself in the Poster Free campaign, which is a Tidy Towns-supported initiative to lobby local and European election candidates to refrain from putting up election posters in their areas.

The campaign claims that the majority of election posters are made from corrugated plastic, a single use plastic that takes over 400 years to biodegrade. They argue that postering is an environmental issue.

Criticism 

Dalkey Tidy Towns came in for criticism after the initial email was sent out.

Alan Kinsella, who runs the Irish Election Literature website, tweeted that the email and map showed the “completely undemocratic nature of poster bans”.

“I hope if they do take down posters as they threaten that they are prosecuted,” he said.

One local election candidate – who wanted to remain anonymous – said that there were concerns around claims that Dalkey Tidy Towns would be removing posters, but that there were also concerns around the large area of the exclusion zone. 

“They’ve always had an exclusion area… but this is extremely large,” they said. 

This is the excluding of the whole Dalkey area, it would never have been as large [in the past].

The candidate said that moves were being made to try to come to an agreement which allowed for some postering in Dalkey – which is part of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council – without angering the community. 

“It’s quai-unreasonable to say that vast area can’t be postered… and it favours incumbents more than it favours anybody else,” he said. 

First-time election candidate for Labour Valerie McDermott said that she was initially concerned over the fact that election posters could be destroyed, but that she also had concerns over the size of the proposed exclusion zone. 

“I’m more than happy if they don’t want to put up on poster on the main street that makes perfect sense to me i would be quite happy to abide by that,” she said. 

But it seems very broad.

McDermott said that no one had been in contact with her from the campaign and if they had been she would have been happy to discuss the matter with them. She said that as a first time candidate she felt posters were important to get her name out there. 

“If you’re an incumbent and well-known it’s probably not that big an issue but for somebody that hasn’t run before posters are very important,” she said. 

McDermott said that her posters “were ready to go” but that she would not be postering in the Dalkey area “for the moment”.

“We will respect what they are asking but we would like to be consulted with it and we would like the opportunity to put them up on some of the outer streets in Dalkey,” she said. 

Burke-Kennedy of Dalkey Tidy Towns said that the committee were committed to the idea of a poster-free town. 

“The logic [of the boundary] is that this is Dalkey and any mess in Dalkey we will lose points on,” he said. 

He said that May and June are the time when the adjudicators from the Tidy Towns competition inspected the area, and that things like cable ties from posters caused the town to lose points. 

If candidates do hang posters within the boundary, Burke-Kennedy said that the committee will ring them and ask them to take the posters down. If the candidates refuse he said that the committee will “just be disappointed”.

“But I’ve noticed with neighbours now they’re much more conscious of the damage of plastic and I don’t think candidates will be as respected as they would be if they don’t do it,” he said. 

I think people are sensitive now and they see that some people aren’t respecting the wishes of neighbourhoods. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said that Dalkey Tidy Towns “has no statutory powers to impose a poster ban, nor do they have the statutory power to remove posters from public property”.

“Candidates who have their posters removed should report the matter to the local gardaí.

What has happened elsewhere is that agreement has been reached between local groups and candidates not to erect posters in certain areas.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

Read next:

COMMENTS (28)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel