A Fine Gael councillor’s campaign to make Carrick-on-Suir an election poster free zone during the local and European elections received little support on Carrick Town Council.
Cllr Margaret Croke tabled a motion at the Council’s April meeting calling on the Town Council to ask all election candidates to refrain from putting up campaign posters within the town boundary in support of local tidy towns efforts.
While Labour Cllr Sarah Dunne, seconded the motion, she stressed she was doing so just to allow the proposal be debated by the elected members.
Cllr Patsy Fitzgerald (Ind) said he understood where Cllr Croke was coming from as he made such a request at a previous election. But he had spoken to the Tidy Towns Committee representatives and they hadn’t any issue with election posters and they were happy enough to allow candidates erect them.
Fianna Fail Cllr Sylvia Cooney-Sheehan, one of four outgoing town councillors contesting the local elections, said this issue was important in the 2009 local elections when 23 candidates ran in the Carrick Town Council race. But she didn’t believe it was an issue in this election.
She said any of the candidates running were very responsible people and would take down their posters after the election. There wouldn’t be any littering, she insisted.
“I think people need to know what is going on. That is what I am getting from constituents at the doors,” she pointed out.
Sinn Fein councillor and election candidate David Dunne said he always abided by the election poster rules, which were fairly strict. He argued that posters were an important way for new candidates and independent candidates to get their name known to the public as they mightn’t have the funds for billboard, bus shelter or shop window advertising.
Another candidate Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin said the election was a bit like the circus coming to town. It was a bit of excitement for the town and when it was over the posters will be taken down.
In response, Cllr Croke said there could well be as many as 23 candidates running in the election again.
“There could be posters everywhere and if there is a strong wind they will be blown down,” she warned.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien pointed out that even if the motion was passed it would be non-binding.
“Regardless of what the Council decides, it’s up to each individual to do what they want to do.”