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COMMENT: Posters are a sign of healthy democracy

Monday, 29th April, 2019 7:59am

Story by Tony McCullagh
COMMENT: Posters are a sign of healthy democracy

Election posters started appearing on lampposts last week. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

COMMENT: Posters are a sign of healthy democracy

Election posters started appearing on lampposts last week. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

THE poster fairies were out in force last week as the starting gun was fired in the European and Local Elections. 

While we slept in our beds, every lamppost in my community was targeted by eager candidates and their hardworking teams. We awoke to a colourful display of posters, emblazoned with party logos and professionally taken mugshots of wannabe politicians. There were some familiar names, along with fresh-faced newbies drawn from all parties and none.

Some would argue for an end to election posters, believing them to be an unsightly distraction, particularly as Tidy Towns’ groups begin their work in earnest. While I have some sympathy for this view, I also feel that the posters are the sign of a healthy democracy at work and help raise awareness of political and local issues.

Even in this digital age, not everyone relies on social media so the posters serve as a traditional method of familiarising the electorate with their local candidates.

The robust enforcement of litter laws can help ensure that posters are not up for longer periods than permitted under legislation and residents should not be shy when it comes to reporting any transgressions to their local authority.

Over the coming weeks, you’ll have numerous opportunities to press the flesh with candidates for the Local and European Elections. Have a list of your gripes prepared but be mindful of the limitations of their office, if elected. There’s not much point having a go at a prospective MEP over the lack of litter bins in your local park but that’s a conversation you can certainly have with candidates seeking seats on the council. 

Personally, I have a few axes to grind with my local authority, such as parking charges, derelict buildings, damaged speed ramps and the lack of enforcement of dog fouling laws. I’ll also be bending ears about candidates’ views on Local Property Tax (LPT).

It’s sometimes easy to take democracy for granted but we are fortunate to live in a society where we get to choose who runs Ireland – at local, national and indeed European level. As always, we need to be careful with our vote and those who we deem worthy of election better work damn hard to make sure we don’t regret putting that tick beside their photo on the ballot paper.

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