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Department insists early election posters are illegal

There’s a €150 fine for every individual poster that goes up before the polling order for the Dáil elections is issued.

Election posters ahead of the 2007 general election in Rathmines. Posters for this year's election can't be erected at least until the Dáil is dissolved.
Election posters ahead of the 2007 general election in Rathmines. Posters for this year's election can't be erected at least until the Dáil is dissolved.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

Updated, 13.55

IF YOU’VE BEEN IMPRESSED by how quickly some candidates in the general election have begun their canvassing and campaigning - and by their initiative in how quickly they’ve gotten some posters onto lampposts – you may need to think again.

The Department of the Environment has confirmed this morning that any ‘Vote No.1′ posters that have already been erected on lamp posts have been put up illegally, and that candidates are liable to €150 fines for each and every poster already erected.

A spokesperson for the Department confirmed that under the amended Litter Pollution Act of 1997, election posters could only be put up once the polling order for the elections has been issued, confirming when the polling date of the elections would be.

That is only issued when the writ for the elections has been moved by the Clerk of the Dáil, who in turn only issues the writ when the Dáil has been dissolved. Even then, posters can only be put up within 30 days of the designated polling date.

So even if the election is brought forward – with February 25 now the likeliest date – posters cannot be erected anywhere in the country unless they’re either up on private property (or they’re on paid-for advertising hoardings).

Despite that, however, lamp posts in Dublin City have already begun to be populated by election posters; one photograph, posted by Sunday Times editor Frank Fitzgibbon to Twitter yesterday, showed Labour councillor Kevin Humphreys – running in Dublin South East – erecting a campaign poster on Merrion Street.

Humphreys explained to TheJournal.ie, however, that his poster had merely been as part of a temporary photo opportunity, and had been intended to “emphasise the point to former minister Gormley that he hasn’t delivered on any of his commitments” about holding a general election in January.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said it was written to all political parties, TDs, Senators, MEPs and councillors to remind them of the postering rules.

On Saturday, Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan was forced to deny that an Irish Times photograph of him with an election poster was a breach of the laws, saying he was merely “sizing up” potential places to leave his posters.

Have you seen campaign posters up anywhere else in the country? Let us know in the comments.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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