Wednesday 21 August 2019

'There's no way to prove who's taken it down' - local election candidates tell of posters being defaced and removed

A number of candidates have reported having their posters defaced
A number of candidates have reported having their posters defaced

Gabija Gataveckaite

Local election candidates have hit out at their election posters being ripped down and defaced with moustaches, beards and expletives.

Politicians running for local and European elections have took to social media to voice their frustrations, labelling defaced and torn down posters ‘shocking’.

Cathal Haughey, a Fianna Fáil local election candidate, had one of his posters defaced with expletives and drawings after he had an angry encounter with a resident.

Haughey and his family were putting up posters when they were approached by a furious man objecting to the posters being put up outside of his home.

“The man came out of the house and yelled ‘take that f***ing thing down’,” Mr Haughey told Independent.ie.

“He said that ‘it’s my house, you can’t put up posters’.”

“He said, ‘if you leave it up, I’ll take it down’. We left it up and came back the next day and found it defaced.”

The poster had the words ‘toxic party’ and ‘out’, as well as a moustache scrawled on it in black marker.

However, Haughey added that the abuse was not isolated to one party.

“There’s no way to prove who has taken it down,” he said.

Social Democrat local election candidate Carly Bailey found that some of her posters ‘disappeared’ mere days after being put up.

She fears that the posters may be put up after the campaigning is over, which would result in the respective candidates being fined.

“If we were fined, it would have a significant impact on my ability to pay the rent and bills,” she said.

“It’s horrifying that the posters could be put back up, I’m running on a tight shoe string.”

This is the candidate’s first time running in local elections and she explained that watching them being put on poles is ‘democracy in action’.

“Even from knocking on doors, people say, ‘I’ve seen you on posters’.”

“I’m hearing of posters going missing from a lot of other women candidates. Another colleague said that somebody was taking down her poster up a ladder with a hacksaw because her ‘dogs didn’t like them’,” she explained.

“Putting up the posters is a painful enough endeavour,” she said. “For someone on a low income, it’s a scary prospect.”

Hazel Chu, a Green Party local election candidate, also saw one of her posters being damaged with drawings.

Her poster was defaced with the drawing of a beard.

“Jesus lads (or ladies) I would have expected horns or something. Also I no longer need to wonder what I'll look like with a beard,” she wrote on Twitter.

“The Green Party has put in motions to restrict posters for only certain areas like in some other countries, but they have been pushed back. We use posters, then re-use them for other elections or recycle them.

“It’s disheartening when they get defaced, as posters can’t be recycled or re-used,” she told Independent.ie.

She also said that posters are not only being defaced and torn down, but turned away or taken down, only to be put up after the elections are over. This leads to the respective candidate being fined.

In regards to her tweet, she said that she “was being lighthearted as it’s the kind of funny thing that happens. Do I think people need to cop on? You bet,” she said.

However, Ms Chu doesn’t think that defacing was racially motivated.

“That’s just what happens when you put your face on a pole.”

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