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The people's poles: Local election candidates want more poster time

Established parties have an unfair advantage heading into the May 23 election, the ‘People’s Candidates’ group is arguing.

Illegal height election posters being pulled down in Dublin in 2009
Illegal height election posters being pulled down in Dublin in 2009
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A GROUP OF election candidates in Cork say the established political parties are being allowed an unfair advantage in the run-up to next month’s local and European elections.

The ‘People’s Candidate’s‘ contend that the law governing use of campaign posters in particular highlights that independent and non-party candidates are at a disadvantage compared to established politicians.

Current legislation states that election posters can’t be placed in public until 30 days before the election date (in this case, that means 23 April).

However, any candidate who has the campaign funding to do so is free to take out ads on bus shelters, billboards — and wherever else advertising space is on offer.

“It means that the parties have an immediate advantage as you get closer to the date,” said Diarmaid Ó Cadhla — a candidate in the Cork City South East ward.

There should be some regulation of this, of course, but everyone who contests the election should be be allowed to do so under the same conditions.

Ó Cadhla says the balance could be restored in one of two ways: by extending the postering period, or by disallowing all candidates from taking out paid public advertising until the 30-day pre-election period begins.

There are ten ‘People’s Candidates’ running in the local elections around the Cork area. Each of the hopefuls in the grouping signed a pledge to seek “a constituency mandate on each issue after the election”. Candidates are also running in Dublin and Limerick.

Last week, the group illegally placed an election poster on a pole outside City Hall to draw attention to the issue. It’s since been removed.

Read: Wybory Lokalne: Meet the Polish nationals who’ll be asking for your vote in May

Read: 23 May the big day for wannabe councillors and MEPS

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