The journal.ie reports (2nd February) that there are “premature poster erections all over Ireland”, many of them from government party candidates.
Three days before the official date for postering (23rd April 2014) for the European elections I was putting up posters for Paul Murphy in the Blackrock area, along with another supporter. (The Fianna Fáil candidate had already put posters up elsewhere.) About an hour into the postering a Garda van pulled up beside us. The Gardaí were obviously responding to a call from their base about the postering. They asked some questions, were we working for Paul, etc. The two Gardaí were polite and good humoured throughout. I inquired whether they wanted us to stop postering. The Garda who engaged with us said yes, that it was against the Litter Act. They departed and we decided to call it a day.
In the following days there were newspaper reports about Paul Murphy putting up posters too early (in various areas). Paul was ordered to take posters down and he was fined for 70 posters at €150 per poster. (I don’t know how many of these fines were eventually paid.)
Since early January, long before an election was even called, Fine Gael candidate for Dublin North West, Noel Rock, has festooned the lampposts of Drumcondra with large posters carrying his name, image and the exhortation to ‘keep the recovery going’. (The election or candidacy isn’t mentioned, but the slogan is one of Fine Gael’s election battle cries.) In recent weeks Fine Gael and Labour have been organising Potemkin public meetings as a way of getting their candidates up on posters legally. Noel Rock’s posters have no connections to a public meeting or event. (Even in these cases permission from Dublin City Council is usually required.)
So, did the litter wardens get on to Noel Rock? Did, as sometimes happens, Dublin City Council workers take down the posters (eh, no)? Will he be fined €150 per poster? Did the Gardaí drop by to tell him to desist from postering? I wonder. Were there raised-eyebrow pieces in the papers about early postering? Not so far. The journal.ie’s stern report on the new batch of “premature erections all over Ireland” may herald some now.