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European Parliament candidate threatens Dublin Bus with legal action over ban on political ads

The public transport company said it would no longer accept political advertisements following a number of complaints this month.


A CANDIDATE RUNNING for European Parliament has threatened to launch legal proceedings against Dublin Bus over its ban on political advertisements.

A solicitor for Hermann Kelly, who founded the Irish Freedom Party but is standing in Dublin as an independent, has written to the company asking it to place 60 ads on its buses after cancelling an agreement to run 30 ads for his client this week.

Exertion Media, which manages advertising for the public transport company, contacted Kelly on 16 May to say it been told by CIE to stop accepting bookings for the upcoming local and European election campaigns.

A spokesman for Exertion Media told Kelly that the decision was made following a “high volume” of complaints relating to other political ad campaigns in recent weeks.

Kelly said he had paid €5,000 to the company to feature 30 ads on Dublin Bus between 20 May and 2 June, but that this was refunded following Exertion Media’s decision.

In a letter seen by, his solicitor told Dublin Bus that his client was “extremely concerned” by the decision, saying it would negatively affect his campaign. 

He also called for the company to run the advertising campaign and to double the number of ads that were originally agreed by way of compensation, warning that failure to do so would leave Kelly with “no other option” than to begin legal proceedings.

Dublin Bus has already run ads for Fianna Fáil’s Barry Andrews, Fine Gael’s Frances Fitzgerald, Labour’s Alex White, and independents Clare Daly and Gemma O’Doherty.

A number of these ads are still visible on the company’s fleet, although it is understood they are not affected by the ban because they had been placed on the buses before the decision was taken. 

Earlier this month, NBRU General Secretary Dermot O’Leary wrote to Dublin Bus to condemn advertisements run by another unnamed candidate.

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He said that it was “incumbent on Dublin Bus to explain its rationale” in accepting advertisements and to “consider the consequences” of doing so.

Dublin Bus did not respond to queries or request for comment. 

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