Press release

Green Party bill to cut back on waste and clutter of posters at election time

17th May 2022
Election posters at designated site Europe
European example of election posters at a designated area

Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly today (May 17) launched the Regulation of Display of Electoral and Polling Posters and Other Advertisements Bill 2022. The bill aims to reduce the waste and street clutter associated with political posters used during elections and referendums in Ireland.

Senator Pauline O’Reilly said;

“In Ireland, we see a huge number of posters at election time that clutter up our streets, block signs and cause hazards. This bill aims not only to make our streets safer and cut down on the huge amount of plastic waste, much of which ends up in landfill, but also to even the playing field for candidates running for office. The cost of producing hundreds and hundreds of posters can be prohibitive for small parties and independent candidates and puts them at a disadvantage against larger parties. Restricting the number of posters and where they can be displayed offers every candidate a more equal opportunity to get their message across to voters.”

The bill, introduced to the Seanad by Green Party Senators Pauline O’Reilly, Róisín Garvey and Vincent P Martin seeks to:

  • Regulate the placement of election posters and referendum material to ‘designated areas’, chosen by the relevant Local Authority. 
  • Ensure the advertising of election candidates and referendums is cleaner, safer and less wasteful.
  • Ensure it is fairer for independent candidates and candidates from smaller parties.

Senator Róisín Garvey stated;

“Communities and Tidy Town Committees across the country have long been calling for change on the practice of attaching election materials with plastic ties to every lamp post, road bridge and electricity pole. This bill would instead establish ‘designated areas’ where election and referendum materials can be placed during an election or referendum. These areas would be established through regulation by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The Local Authority would be given the task of establishing the designated areas across their constituency in areas of high footfall.”

This approach reflects modern practice across many other European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Italy and Spain. 

Senator Vincent P Martin added;

“A large number of European countries already limit posters to designated areas, administered by their local authorities, and often dismantle the designated areas outside of election time. Such areas give equal space to each party, while still allowing citizens to familiarise themselves with the candidates and serving as reminders of the elections taking place.”

Pauline O'Reilly

'I know what she looks like, I will vote for her!'

"Election posters are a massive source of plastic pollution. In 2014, there were 600,000 plastic posters for that one election. That’s the size of 23 Croke Parks." Green Party Senator Pauline O’Reilly joined Newstalk to explain the reasoning behind the bill.

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