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Here's how candidates have been getting around the law on posters ahead of May's elections

While some have been breaking the law others have been sticking to it, but are still managing to get their name out there.

WITH THE LOCAL and European elections just over a month away, candidates up and down the country have been looking for ways to gain whatever advantage they can over their rivals and in recent days that has meant putting up their posters.

Some have blatantly broken the law – which says that posters cannot go up until 23 April, tomorrow – with Mary Fitzpatrick and Paul Murphy erecting posters in recent days and now facing fines.

TheJournal.ie readers have sent us dozens of examples of posters being prematurely erected in recent days, some legally and some not.

Fianna Fáil councillor David McGuinness is among those who has put up his posters in parts of west Dublin in recent days along with the Anti Austerity Alliance (AAA).

We’re told that McGuinness had sheets advertising a public meeting partially covering his posters, but these appear to have blown off resulting in a full election poster being displayed. This means he could be in breach of the law:

p_mcguinness Source: Paul Conroy via email

The AAA, an amalgamation of left-wing parties and groupings primarily led by the Socialist Party, has been erecting its posters without any notice of a public meeting or other event in recent days, which means the party has been breaking the law.

Here’s an example in Cork:

Others have worked their way around the law in some interesting and amusing ways.

Here, below another AAA poster, is Dublin West councillor Kieran Dennison’s poster in the Clonee/Ongar area of west Dublin last night.

It looks like an election poster but in fact the small A4 sheet is advertising a public meeting, meaning it does not break the law:

p_dennison 2 Source: Paul Conroy via email

It’s worth noting that Dublin City Council (Dennison sits on Fingal County Council) issued a revised protocol recently which says that posters advertising public meetings must have a minimum of 75 per cent of their layout detailing the details of that meeting and its content must be “clearly visible to members of the public”.

Independent Ronan McMahon, whose leaflets have already caused controversy in this election campaign, has put up similar posters in the Templeogue/Terenure area in recent days.

Here’s an example of his posters, covered with a notice for a ‘coffee morning’:

Others have found their way around the law by erecting their posters not on lampposts but on their own, custom-made posts like Fine Gael candidate in the Rathgar/Rathmines area Kate O’Connell:

kate oconnell posters Source: Hugh O'Connell/TheJournal.ie

Tallaght-based councillor Máire Devine has done something similar in her area:

In both these cases, the candidates are abiding by the law, but have clearly gained an advantage by getting their names and faces out there that bit earlier than others.

In similar fashion, Fianna Fáil’s Mark Dalton has put his posters in this derelict shop window in the Kildare town of Athy:

Others who have the financial means, such as independent MEP Nessa Childers, have been advertising in bus shelters since February leading some to complain that candidates with the money get an unfair advantage over those who don’t:

Childers is of course not the only candidate to use the bus shelter with those who have the backing of political parties also able to advertise to those waiting for the bus:

While the tradition of whacking your name and face on your motor in the run-up to the election has also been prominent in recent weeks.

Here’s Meath-based councillor Niamh McGowan:

So while some have stuck to the letter of the law, others haven’t done so well.

Needless to say, all candidates will be out and about hanging their posters on lampposts over the next 24 hours as the countdown to 23 May begins.

See anything weird and wonderful on the Election 2014 campaign trail? Email hugh@thejournal.ie

Read: ‘I don’t think people will be bothered’: MEP defends decision to put his posters up early

Read: 11 pictures that prove the election trail is an odd place

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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