Now whatever else their talents and abilities are there are not many who would suggest that the male members of Meath County Council are ‘Poster Boys’ of any sort.
However some of them became embroiled in a heavy duty debate over political posters at yesterday’s monthly meeting of MCC.
In 2019, Ireland became the 2nd country to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. Politicians from various parties have asked the public and businesses to reduce the amount of plastic being used. Businesses have taken on board that advice by replacing plastic straws with paper straws as it has been reported that the plastic straws have been choking many sea creatures, such as turtles.
Many shops have replaced plastic bags with reusable bags or paper bags, so they can be recycled. Councillors constantly scold the public for not picking up their rubbish. There were even suggestions by Louth Senator, John McGahon, that car registration numbers should be printed on take away bags so they could fine people accordingly if they litter.
However, when a motion submitted by Trim based Social Democrats councillor, Ronan Moore, at yesterday’s Meath County Council meeting, to reduce the amount of plastic posters used during elections for the sake of the environment, was opened to the floor a majority of councillors were opposed to such measures.
Another case of talking the talk but not walking the walk. ?
Moore reiterated the point that this is not a motion to ban the use of election posters, rather to just reduce the number of posters in built up, urban areas. During elections, it is not rare to find two or more posters of the same politician on Politone pole.
Cllr Alan Lawes (Ind), reminded the council that the government did declare a climate emergency and if we “reacted to a health emergency, are we not prepared to react to a climate emergency? We are asking people to change, but we are not prepared to do ourselves? We need to lead by example”.
Moore was further supported by Cllr Joe Bonner (Ind) and Cllr Aisling O’Neill (Sinn Féin), who suggested that “we need to seriously find alternatives”.
Cllr Emer Tóibín (Aontú) agreed with some of what Moore was trying to achieve but believed that “democracy will take a hit”, she claimed that postering was the cheapest way to “get your message across”.
Cllr Wayne Harding (FF) was of the belief that the public are only aware of elections taking place due to posters as that was the biggest question he was asked when he knocked on people’s doors. He claimed that there was only a 50% turn out in the last local election and if you take away the posters, there will be less. He stated that he could not reuse the posters of himself from 10 years ago as “he doesn’t look the same”.
Cllr David Gilroy (Ind) was of the same opinion as Harding, that if “posters weren’t up, many would not know that an election was on” and that posters are a “physical manifestation of democracy”.
Cllr Gerry O’Connor (FG) agreed with Moore and submitted an amendment to the motion: “To help reduce the need for multiple election posters in built up, urban areas, villages and towns”. He also suggested that a billboard of each candidate might be a good alternative
The motion ultimately failed to be passed.