ELECTION season has kicked off in in earnest in the last two days, with candidates’ posters going up all over the city.
Candidates were quick off the mark yesterday, when regulations allowing posters to go up on poles kicked in, 30 days before polling day.
There are no limits on how many posters a candidate can hang, or where they may place them, as long as they don’t create a hazard to the public or cover traffic signs and signal lights.
However, any posters within 50 metres of a polling station on the day of polling must be removed, and all posters must be removed within seven days of the close of polls.
While there has been no shortage of posters going up in the city centre and main roads, more than 35 Tidy Towns and community groups across the city have called for poster-free zones in their area.
These include areas like Ballincollig, Douglas, and Carrigaline.
The groups say that they want to protect the appearance of their areas and limit the amount of plastic used during the election.
Several candidates are planning on running poster-free campaigns, including Fermoy Social Democrat June Murphy and independent MEP candidate Mick Wallace TD. Other candidates are promising to abide by the wishes of local community groups, and committing to reusing old posters instead of producing more plastic.
Fianna Fáil city councillor Fergal Dennehy, Cork City South-West, said that he has cancelled the new posters he planned to use in this election.
“With the ongoing poster debate, I have consulted with my team and supporters and I have cancelled my new batch of posters.
“Instead, I will be reusing posters from previous campaigns. I will also be supporting the efforts of Tidy Towns Togher and Ballincollig Tidy Towns and I will be adhering to the poster-free zones.
“I hope that for the next election government will put in place legislation to either ban or seriously reduce the amount of posters per candidate.
“I have written to previous ministers looking for this but it hasn’t happened as yet,” he said.
However, there has also been an online backlash against the poster-free campaigns.
Many candidates and commentators have argued that posters are an important campaign tool for new candidates, a way of increasing awareness and engagement in the election, and that politicians are being targeted where other groups using posters for events have not and continue to use them.