Ban on election posters in more than 150 cities

April 24, 2019

A voluntary ban on election posters is now in place in more than 150 cities across the country following calls for the disposal of waste generated by candidate posters.

Launched less than two months ago, the Poster Free campaign has garnered significant public support with 101 cities banning election posters from their cities in early March.

Cities and areas to enforce the voluntary ban include the counties municipalities of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Donegal.

Campaign organizers reiterated their wish to see a nationwide ban on election posters, with more than 90 political candidates also pledging not to display posters.

European and local elections are held on May 24, and candidates are expected to erect half a million posters on telephone poles and streetlights across the country.

The campaign, which is heavily supported by local Tidy Towns groups, said the positive response to its initiative is an indication of the public’s frustration with the build-up of waste generated by the candidates’ advertising posters.

In 2014, just over 2,000 candidates ran for 750 seats in local elections, erecting over 600,000 posters, the equivalent of 23 Croke Parks.

These posters would have produced 360 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the same amount generated if an average car was driven non-stop for 592 days. A similar issue is expected to be distributed in May during local and European elections.

Promotional posters can also pose a threat to public safety by covering road signs leading to motorway accidents. Cyclists have also complained about misplaced posters which often block their way and put their lives in danger.

Under the country’s anti-waste laws, including the Waste Pollution Act of 1997, it is an offense to endanger public safety by placing promotional posters in an inappropriate manner.

The outcry over the posters gained momentum ahead of the Eight Amendments referendum, where a Claire Byrne Live / Amarach Research poll found that 74% of people wanted referendum posters banned.

Candidates.ie launched in Tralee, a website where voters can find out more about their local politicians running for office without using posters. Brian Stephenson, founder, with his two children Abby and Chloe Stephenson. Photo: Pauline Dennigan.

Karen Doyle, independent candidate in the local elections in Cobh, where the new voluntary ban is now in place, expressed satisfaction with the increased number of poster-free zones.

“With all the different parties and individuals trying to get noticed on every second post, the whole place was getting really littered with it resulting in a kind of poster fatigue,” she said. Green news.

Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan introduced an amendment to the Government’s European Parliament Elections Bill 2019 (Amendment) to restrict the use of posters to designated public spaces only. The amendment was declared inadmissible.

Rather, almost all EU countries limit posters to designated areas, administered by their local authorities, and often dismantle them outside of election periods.

A new website – www.candidates.ie – has been launched by NoteCloud, a technology company in Tralee, to make it easier for voters to find out about election candidates.

NoteCloud Founder Brian Stephenson said, “We are involved in a number of environmental and community cleanup projects locally and the issue of election posters has come up more than once.

“We decided to try to solve this problem by creating a user-friendly online directory and inviting applicants to create profiles and give some information about themselves and their ideas,” he added.

About the Author

Chamim Malekmian

Shamim is a senior reporter for The Green News and editor for the Irish Examiner, the Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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