NI parties face £2,500 fine for election posters along Giro route

Voluntary ban backed by threat of legal action

A model of a pink fisherman and bicycle sit  on a rock in the Irish Sea off the village of Waterfoot, Co Antrim ahead of the Giro d’Italia next week.   Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

A model of a pink fisherman and bicycle sit on a rock in the Irish Sea off the village of Waterfoot, Co Antrim ahead of the Giro d’Italia next week. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Sat, Apr 26, 2014, 12:08

Northern political parties fighting the local government and EU elections later this month will be fined £2,500 (€3,035) if their posters are hoisted on lamp posts along the route of the Giro d’Italia next month.

The cycling race, second only to the Tour de France in terms of prestige, begins in Belfast on May 9th and will visit the north coast, Armagh and Dublin before leaving Ireland for Italy where the bulk of the race is contested.

Stormont environment minister Mark H Durkan has already announced a ban on postering along the route of the race. Restrictions are already in place and will be lifted when the race leaves for Italy.

The initiative was agreed with the other political parties who are anxious that an anticipated world TV audience of some 775 million will see Northern Ireland at its best.

Parties who hang posters along the route will be ordered to remove them or face the threat of legal action and a fine.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have already been earmarked by Stormont to clean up towns, villages and buildings along the route.

The race begins at the Titanic centre in Belfast’s docklands and heads for Stormont before returning to City Hall via south Belfast and the Queen’s University area.

The next day, May 10th, the 198 riders leave Belfast for the Giant’s Causeway on the north coast and returning to the city via the scenic Antrim coast road.

The race then transfers to Armagh city where the third stage begins, taking in a tour of Co Armagh before heading to Dublin for the stage finish at Upper Merrion Street.