Fingal called on to restrict use of posters around election timeGary Ibbotson 19 Jan 2022
Fingal County Council had been called upon to ban the erection of election posters on council owned land and public roads.
Green Party councillor for Howth-Malahide David Healy recently tabled a question to the local authority asking the chief executive to draft a bye-law restricting the placing of election posters.
His statement read: “That the Chief Executive draft bye-laws for consideration by the council under s.199 of the Local Government Act to restrict the placing of election posters on land in the ownership or in charge of the council including public roads to some dedicated council-provided sites as is common in many other jurisdictions.”
In recent years, several politicians have joined a campaign calling for the restricting of the use of posters during the build up to a local or national election.
Posterfree.ie says that the posters can have a serious negative impact on the local environment due to their plastic content.
“Corrugated plastic, commonly known as corriboard is the material of choice for election posters.
“Like other single use plastics, they take 400+ years to biodegrade,” the organisers say.
“In the 2014 local elections, 2038 candidates ran for 949 seats. An estimated 611,000 posters were erected with a combined cost of €3M with posters covering the equivalent area of 23 Croke Parks.
“This produced 366 tonnes of Co2, the equivalent of driving an average car non-stop for 592 days.
“In many areas, these posters were a safety and driving hazard, often obscuring important road signage. After 30 days of canvassing, the majority of these posters were sent to landfill.”
In response to Healy’s question, Fingal County Council did not commit to introducing a bye-law restricting the use of election posters, saying that candidates who do not comply with the current laws will be prosecuted.
“Posters may only be erected for a certain specified time period before an election and this is provided for within the legislation – posters must be removed within seven days of polling day. T
“here is a requirement for candidates to remove all posters including any cable ties within seven days of the poll.
“Failure to comply with these conditions constitutes an offence.
“Statutory legislation is in place for the erection of election posters and therefore Bye-Laws cannot be made under Section 199 of the Local Government Act that prohibits the election of posters on public spaces as the erection of posters is provided for and allowed under national legislation.”
Speaking to Northside People, Healy said that a change of legislation is needed to fix the problem.
“While I don’t think the law is fully clear, it would serve no-body to make bye-laws when their legality would be under challenge.
“Therefore, what is needed is an amendment to the section of the Litter Act inserted by the Electoral Reform Act,” he says.
“I and my Green colleagues intend to raise this with the Minister for State for Electoral Reform.
“We hope that the Oireachtas will amend the legislation to explicitly allow councils to regulate election posters in a fair manner.”