Saturday 21 September 2019

Mayors deny breach of protocol in Mayoral chain use in election posters

Nial Ring
Nial Ring

Gabija Gataveckaite

Outgoing Mayors have denied a breach in protocol of Mayoral chain use in local election posters.

Voters raised concern that Mayors may be breaching council protocol by wearing the Mayoral chain in their local election posters.

Lord Mayor Nial Ring, who is standing as an Independent candidate for the forthcoming local elections,  used his official Lord Mayor photographs in his posters, which depict him wearing the chain. He denied any breach in protocol.

“Of course I had that checked out, it’s absolutely not a breach of any protocol,” he told Independent.ie.

“I’d be very conscious of rules and regulations and protocols and SIPO and all those sort of things, I wouldn’t be doing anything unless I had it checked out thoroughly first,” he added.

Marino voter and a former Fine Gael Seanad 2016 candidate Daniel Sullivan criticised the mayor for using the chains in his posters, calling it ‘bizzare’.

“I don’t remember previous Mayors having chains on in posters,” he said.

“There are five mayors between each election and one would think that all previous officeholders going back years would be using posters with themselves in the Mayoral chains or none could.

“It’s fine in literature in leaflets but I don’t think they should be used in posters. I just think it’s a bit farcical,” he explained.

The use of Mayoral Chains is outlined in a report to the Protocol Committee in Dublin City Council (DCC). It states that the Lord Mayor’s Chain is “only worn at important Civic events including the election of the Lord Mayor, Civic Receptions and Freedom of the City ceremonies.”

It adds that a ‘9ct gold replica is worn by the Lord Mayor on a day to day basis”.

A Lord Mayor’s Information Pack 2018 states that “because of its great antiquity and historic importance, the Lord Mayor’s Great Chain is now only worn on the following occasions: the Inauguration of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the conferring of the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin and an occasion of outstanding civic importance.”

The pack adds that “a replica of the Great Chain is used for all other civic functions, which is identical in design to the original.”

Local election Fina Gael candidate Ray McAdam claimed that wearing the chain in election posters is a “slight disrespect for the office”.

“I thought it would have been a breach of protocol to wear the chain. If a current mayor had to attend events and the mayor was also candidate then they would have had to wear the chain and that has to happen,” he explained.

“But wearing the chain for your own personal reasons, I wouldn’t do it. No one has raised the issue that the outgoing Lord Mayor has been wearing the chain in his election posters, may be more of an issue within the political bubble,” he added.

In response to request for comment by Independent.ie, a spokesperson for DCC stated: "The Lord Mayor’s Chain is a symbol of the Office of the Lord Mayor of Dublin and is worn by the Lord Mayor when carrying out their role as Lord Mayor."

Dublin City Council has no say in the content of any election poster as long as it meets the requirement of the Litter Acts.

Anthony Lavin, Mayor of Fingal confirmed to Independent.ie that he is wearing the Chains of Office in his election posters. He stated that he was “not aware of any protocols in place” in Fingal County Council in regards to wearing the chain in election posters.

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council stated that "the Mayoral Chain is used as a function of the Office of the Mayor".

The Standards in Public Office Commission, or SIPO, does not have any rules or regulations in place which oversee the content of political advertising.

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