Louth local election candidate queries legality of banning posters
Local election candidate John Sheridan has questioned the legality of any potential ban on election postering on council property.
His comments follows a proposal to ban election posters from council property, which was put forward recently.
"The provision for postering is quite clear in the Electoral Act", began Mr Sheridan, in a statement to the Democrat. "I would question what are the legal implications for Louth County Council here if a ban was introduced and has sound Constitutional legal advice been sought on the matter?
"I know Kerry County Council ended up in the Supreme Court after the last local elections over a local interpretation of the electoral act and incurred legal costs amounting to a six figure sum arising from that.
He continued: "I think that should be the first thing considered here to avoid a possible costly legal case in the future. Every voter I’ve spoken to could think of a number of more important things in their areas that Louth County Council money could be better spent.”
Mr Sheridan added that it is his opinion that postering helps improve voter engagement.
"I know other countries have designated spaces with all candidates having equal spaces to put up posters and this actually might be a very sensible thing to be trialled nationwide. I think it's quite clear that evidence shows in the past posters have helped engagement and turnout. In local elections, where boundaries often change, posters can help in clarifying boundaries for everyone.
"I think we saw in the two most recent referenda, that excessive postering by one side didn't result in that side winning; but most certainly the posters were a major source of public debate and did shape the narrative of the debate."