Tuesday 19 February 2019

Councils promise fines for 'early' election posters

Aidan O'Connor

ELECTION candidates around the country who flouted litter laws by illegally erecting posters will be fined.

Dublin City Council confirmed it is investigating a number of candidates whom it believes illegally erected campaign posters in public places before midnight last night.

A council spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "We are aware of some breaches and we . . . will be issuing fines."

Limerick County Council also said it would issue a number of 'sample' fines to Fianna Fail Cllr Michael Collins after his election team erected 157 posters in Newcastlewest.

"It was a mistake, I put my hands up. I had a function on Friday and a funeral on Saturday and I had instructed my election team to put them up. They thought they were doing a great job," Mr Collins said.

In Galway, Green candidate Mairead Ni Chroinin accused the Mayor of Galway Padraig Conneely (FG) of bringing his office into disrepute by putting up posters illegally.

Cllr Conneely said he "refused to take lectures from the Greens when they were flouting the law . . . in Dublin".

But Green candidate Dave Robbins said that he got permission from Dublin City Council and the Department of the Environment to erect posters advertising a jumble sale.

Mr Conneely said yesterday: "I only put up a handful last night. Technically, the time to put them up is midnight tonight. So what? They're up all over the place, rakes of them.'' A spokesperson said the council would wait to see if the mayor complied with a request to take the posters down before deciding on possible fines.

But Cllr Conneely told the Irish Independent: "I haven't time to take them down, do they think I'm a fool?"

Meanwhile, Fine Gael pointed out yesterday one of its councillors, Bob Dowling in Dublin, did not breach regulations with his 'Vote No 1' billboard appeal for votes as it was put up on private property with the permission of the owner, a move which is allowed under the law.

And north Dublin Fine Gael candidate Declan Flanagan did not breach rules as his posters covered up a direct appeal for votes. His name appeared on posters belonging to running mate Noel Rock, looking for No 1 and No 2 votes respectively.

Sinn Fein rejected claims MEP Mary Lou McDonald had erected posters illegally. A party spokesperson said: "I don't believe they are up."

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