Poster wars turn ugly as election day approaches
Published 26/02/2016 | 00:00
FERNS outlawed them, Green candidate Ann Walsh said she would like to ban them, and Mick Wallace went slogan-mad on them.
Like them or loathe them, posters are part and parcel of every Irish election, and as in every election in living memory, the posters are becoming a big issue in Wexford as polling day approaches.
Inboxes and social media are awash with tales of disappearing and defaced posters, and of posters where they shouldn't be.
Enda Kenny was last week found guilty of breaking the all-party agreement on a poster-free Ferns, but we doubt he actually climbed the poles to erect the offending posters himself. You could, I suppose, still call it a hanging offence.
Wexford's FG candidates vowed to have the Enda posters removed, blaming the blunder on a Dublin contractor.
Meanwhile, candidates are up in arms that posters are disappearing all over the county. Everyone claims dirty tricks by enemy saboteurs, but it could also be plain old vandalism. Or the winds.
Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne thinks that in his case it's the enemy and says there's been 'a systematic removal of some of my posters in certain areas'.
He has also offered a reward for information leading to the return of a trailer supporting one of his billboards. '[The trailer] has been stolen or removed from where it has been securely based. It would have taken some effort. The matter has been reported to the Gardai.'
But Malcolm's poster campaign has a lighter side. He marked Valentine's day with a 'Will You Be Mine On The 26th?' poster, complete with red hearts, proving romance and politics are not such incompatible bedfellows.
Insiders in the Mick Wallace camp say his posters are being stolen all over the county, but principally in the New Ross and Gorey areas. It could be an orchestrated campaign, but it could also be people swiping them as souvenirs, or a bit of both.
Mick's posters are hands down the most inventive of election 2016. 'They Can't Handle The Wallace', but they are clearly handling his posters.
Sinn Fein are also unhappy about posters disappearing. 'Large amounts of our posters are being removed across the county,' said the party's Gorey councillor Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin. 'We put an appeal up on Facebook regarding this. It's an ongoing problem for us in every election and very annoying as we often have just one per village.'
Minister Brendan Howlin has had at least one poster removed. It was on a pole outside Wexford Fire Station and Cllr. George Lawlor, who put it there, suggests it could have been the underhand work of a political opponent.
The only thing we know for certain is that it didn't burn down.
The time honoured tradition of defacing election posters continues, with the usual dose of dodgy, felt tip marker moustaches.
Someone in the Ballycarney area went to considerably more effort last week pasting 'I'm A Liar' stickers on a couple of Fine Gael posters.
On the Courtown road out of Gorey Fine Gael was again targeted in a deliberate act of vandalism, as a large Michael D'Arcy board was daubed with blue paint and a billboard featuring all three FG candidates was uprooted and given the same paint treatment.
Still in Gorey, a resident at The Rock, hit out at those responsible for nailing twelve large election posters on to his front garden fence last week.
'It's on a bad bend,' said Seamus Dooley, blaming vandals and not the candidates who, when contacted, had arranged to have their posters taken down.
Sinn Féin's Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin described those responsible as 'mischievous idiots'. He said they erected the large collection of posters in the middle of the night, frightening Seamus' wife Bernie 'apparently because she had a poster for Johnny Mythen on display in her window.'
It's not all deadly serious in posterland.
Some wag couldn't resist the temptation to hang a silky blue tie around Mick Wallace's neck on one of his 'No Ties' posters.
And in Taghmon, one local wit stuck up a Kermit The Frog poster to make a more general point. 'Vote Muppet', it read. 'You Will Get One Anyway'.