Senator Catherine Noone has today called on poster restrictions of 400 per candidate per constituency to be imposed ahead of the next General Election. Her comments come on foot of revelations that the average 2011 General Election campaign spent €19,000.
Speaking on the issue, Senator Noone said: “This morning, it was emphasised once again how increasingly expensive and inaccessible politics is becoming for people. The average candidate spent almost €19,000 on General Election campaigns in 2011 – much of which would have gone on posters, which is why I am calling for a limit on these, as I believe it would level the playing field and, ultimately, be in line with what people are always calling for: less posters”.
Senator Noone continued: “In this election, with two new parties having launched in the last two months, and more independent candidates than ever, you are realistically looking at ten different party groupings that will be competing in a number of constituencies – and this will bring huge competition, pressure to spend and – also – posters. With a conservative estimate of 1,000 posters per candidate, you could be looking at 10,000 posters per constituency, without including multiple candidates from the same party”.
Senator Noone added: “You have to wonder, in many cases, if the spending does make a difference, or if the spending is being done in the most effective way possible. When all is said and done, how much does each supplementary one hundred posters add to your first preference vote? Very few, I would argue, yet we will engage in it – even though constituents hate it, politicians hate putting them up, they damage the environment and they cost a lot”.
Senator Noone concluded: “As such, I believe a limit of 400 posters per candidate per constituency would be ample, and would serve the purpose of making the electorate aware that an election is forthcoming, while also bringing us closer in line with many of our European neighbours, who simply erect temporary billboards and allocate spaces to each candidate – foregoing the need for posters altogether. I believe this is worth approaching as soon as possible”.