Controversy over election posters takes pole position
As we draw closer to polling day on May 24, Wexford will inevitably see an influx of men with ladders, busily fixing election posters on poles across the county. In Wexford, sitting councillor David Hynes had already stated that he would be running a poster-free campaign and he and People Before Profit candidate Tony Walsh raised a motion at the last Borough District meeting to see if everyone else would do the same.
However, according to Cllr Walsh, Cllr Hynes was unable to attend the meeting as he was with his wife in hospital. This meant that the PBP councillor lacked support for the motion and it fell.
'I'm very disappointed about this as we emphasised in the motion that both Wexford Tidy Towns and a poll on South East Radio unanimously supported a poster-free election,' he said.
'It seems that having faces on posters is more important than mandates from the People of Wexford or indeed the future of our environment. It takes over 400 years for these laminated posters to deteriorate. 120 plus towns around Ireland have opted to go poster-free.'
'Davy Hynes a well-known and well-respected councillor has bravely opted to go poster-free,' he continued.
'I'm now in a quandary as this option would be putting myself at a huge disadvantage as a relative newcomer to the political arena. I am therefore going to limit my use of posters and recycle old posters of my colleagues wherever possible. If I am returned as a councillor, I intend to make poster-free elections one of my campaigns in Wexford.'
Aontú candidate Elaine Cole also expressed her disappointment that Cllr Walsh's motion had failed to gain traction.
'As a first time candidate who has lived and worked outside my home county for a number of years, I understand the advantage posters could make to me,' she said.
'Now that the ban has been defeated I will be forced to get some or risk a considerable disadvantage. I believe that it is a mistake and exposes many elected reps who claim to be environmentalists.'
Despite any perceived disadvantage from not using posters, European election candidate Mick Wallace has agreed to ditch them in his bid for Brussels.
'To match our words with deeds on environmental issues and in support of Primary and Secondary students' climate change campaign, I've decided not to use election posters in the upcoming MEP elections in Ireland South,' he confirmed via social media.
National campaign 'Posterfree.ie' currently only lists two places in Wexford that have banned posters during the election campaign - Ballgarrett and Ferns - while independent candidate David Hynes is the only candidate in the county on their list having committed to a poster-free campaign.