Candidates facing fines for putting posters up early
SEVERAL local authorities are investigating the early erection of campaign posters by European and local election candidates.
Some candidates have already been told that they will be fined after flouting the rules regarding election posters.
ESB Networks yesterday warned candidates against the placing of posters on electricity poles and structures which, it warned, could result in serious injury or fatality.
A spokesman pointed out that workers had previously experienced incidents where posters caught fire, resulting in damaged infrastructure and the loss of supply to customers.
The warning from the ESB comes as a number of councils launched investigations into the early erection of posters. Parties and independent candidates have been warned that no such election posters were to be hung prior to a deadline of midnight last night.
However, this rule was flouted in several electoral wards, such as Galway, Fingal and Dublin city.
Socialist MEP Paul Murphy said he put up almost 1,000 posters in south Dublin and Fingal areas. He said it was clear that other candidates in the local and European elections had started postering in advance of last night's midnight deadline.
"We put up, I would say, less than 1,000 posters yesterday and the reason we did it was because Fianna Fail had started to poster and we didn't want to be disadvantaged," he said.
When asked if he thought erecting posters early would give candidates an advantage, he said: "Yeah, people are trying to get their name out early."
He said that after being contacted by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council they removed the posters.
Mr Murphy, whose supporters were facing into another busy night of postering, said he was not aware if he would now face the €150 penalty fee.
A spokeswoman for Fingal County Council told the Irish Independent that fewer than 10 complaints had been received in relation to posters – the majority of which were placed on poles in the Mulhuddart area.
"It is anticipated that fines will issue in respect of these posters," she said.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said that an unnamed candidate was subject to 14 complaints from members of the public. The candidate removed the posters yesterday and is set to be fined.
In Galway city, the council is considering whether to prosecute an individual who hung posters which may not have had the name of the printer or publisher, as is required.
Kerry County Council said it had received no complaints regarding posters, while Laois County Council said that two complaints had been received but these related to the legitimate placing of posters promoting public meetings.