Fine Gael Candidate Calls For Ban On Election Posters

Fine Gael has called for a widespread ban on election posters and suggested Waterford as a trial area at the next election.

Former minister and Waterford Fine Gael General Election candidate, Paudie Coffey, threw down the gauntlet to his fellow local Waterford candidates, urging them to back his proposal to eliminate the proliferation of posters around the south-eastern city and county come election time.

Senator Coffey, said: "Increasing concern around plastic waste and our environment is reason enough for our politicians to seriously consider eliminating the use of election posters.

"This is something I, as one of the selected candidates for the next General Election, would be strongly in favour of and I hope all the other candidates would be agreeable to it.

"While voters do need to recognise candidates and understand what policies or manifestos they are promoting at election time, the advent of social media and other digital communication tools means it is now surely time to review past practices of electioneering and to promote more sustainable ways of engaging with the public in a way that is less harmful and damaging to our environment.

"I am sure such a proposal will prove contentious – even with my own party colleagues – but it is time to consider such proposals. Why not let the Waterford electoral area be the test area for such a ban? We'll soon find out if this proposal works out."

Senator Coffey said that he believes growing concerns over the environment and the huge rise in social media use means there is "little moral justification", or practical need, for election candidates to plaster posters of themselves across the constituency at election time.

According to a poll carried out by Amárach Research earlier this year, a majority of people (74%) are in favour of a ban on election posters.

Senator Coffey pointed to the example of West Waterford Hertiage Town, Lismore, which has successfully managed to secure agreement from election candidates in the past not to erect posters on their picturesque streets.

The Waterford Fine Gael General Election candidate, who is a keen cyclist and outdoors enthusiast, believes this approach should be extended throughout the entire constituency.

Senator Coffey said there are a number of alternative ways for election candidates to engage with voters.

He continued: "We could look at the possibility of having designated zones at the edges of towns and villages where images and information can be erected by candidates. This approach has been successful in other European countries and could very well work here also.

"The days of erecting these expensive glossy posters, which are damaging to the environment and are becoming a major turn-off for many voters are surely numbered. But why should we wait to follow the example of others when we can lead the way here in Waterford?

"This, of course, will only work if all of the candidates agree to the proposal, otherwise it will be unfair to all concerned. I am calling on all candidates to consider what I believe to be a sensible proposal well ahead of the election campaign and I'm hopeful we can agree a pact to progress on this basis."

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