Strong winds reveal early election posters’ true colours

Terence Flanagan, Joanna Tuffy, Pamela Kearns appear to breach election poster rules

 

Storm Henry may have left some disgruntled election candidates in its wake after Monday night’s strong winds blew stickers off public meeting posters, revealing their true election colours.

A number of TDs could face heavy fines after erecting election posters in parts of Dublin ahead of the announcement of the 2016 election which is due to be called on Wednesday.

Posters for Labour TD Joanna Tuffy were erected ahead of time in parts of Dublin Mid-West on Monday night, while Renua’s Terence Flanagan’s posters could be seen around parts of the Dublin Bay North constituency.

Mr Flanagan’s posters were initially erected advertising a public meeting in Howth this Wednesday. However, the stickers publicising the meeting didn’t last long in Monday night’s gale force winds.

A spokesman for Renua said Mr Flanagan’s posters had been advertising an event in the local constituency and were compliant with the current framework. He admitted that the recent strong winds had blown some of the stickers away but added that Mr Flanagan was “currently remedying that as quickly as possible”.

A spokeswoman from Joanna Tuffy’s office said the Labour TD’s team were out on Tuesday taking down the posters.

Former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty posted a photo of Ms Tuffy’s election poster on his Facebook on Monday night, writing he was “not crying over it”.

“Did the Taoiseach call the election? Because one candidate’s team had posters up already tonight,” he posted. “Not for the first time either. #unsporting”.

Twitter users were also quick to spot premature posters from Labour councillor Pamela Kearns on lampposts in Dublin South-West.

Ms Kearns apologised on Tuesday morning through Twitter for her over enthusiastic volunteers and promised the posters would be taken down.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council said litter wardens had been instructed to remove any poster erected prematurely and to issue a fine of €150. He added that posters must be removed seven days after the election.

Under Dublin City Council regulations, temporary posters or notices may be erected to advertise public meetings and events ahead of the election being called. However, such posters cannot be used on O’Connell Street, Grafton Street and Henry Street.

Ministers have been told the election will be called on Wednesday. Enda Kenny has already told party figures the campaign will be three weeks long and will be the shortest in the history of the State.

Posters for the election may not be erected until the Polling Day Order is made by the Minister for the Environment which cannot be made before the election is called.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said he expected the order to be made the same day the Taoiseach announces the election.

Mr Kenny is expected to make the announcement in the Dáil before travelling to Áras an Uachtaráin where he will formally request that President Michael D Higgins dissolves the 31st Dáil.

ESB has warned candidates in the upcoming general election of the “serious safety risk” of erecting posters on wood or steel electricity poles.

A statement from ESB networks said serious injuries had been caused by members of the public who had come in close proximity to electricity wires and that using ladders and hoists to access electricity poles could result in death.

“Attaching posters low down or interfering in any way with electricity poles, such as drilling or hammering is dangerous and is not permitted,” it added.

Dublin City Council has called on campaigners to erect posters at a minimum height of 2.3m above footpaths, cycle tracks and pedestrian zone and has warned that posters must not “obscure statutory road signs of traffic/pedestrian signals in any way”. Posters must also be securely fixed to poles with cable ties or similar material to ensure they can be removed without damaging the poles.