Council cracks down on billboards for shows and festivals

Paul Connaughton of the Mountbellew Agricultural Show

Festivals and agricultural shows across the county could be jeopardised by stringent rules on signs and posters erected to promote these events.

Galway County Council has introduced regulations, making it more difficult for local community groups to run shows, festivals and other fundraisers.

Even the Gardaí have to approve the erection of signage for events while organisations cannot promote their festivals or shows outside a ten mile radius.

They cannot advertise events on locations off motorways or national primary routes and they also cannot erect signs on roundabouts. The local authority is concerned that such signs could provide a distraction for motorists.

Recently, the organisers of Mountbellew Agricultural Show received correspondence from Galway County Council over the erection of signage.

They were informed about the rules and regulations about erecting signs for the show and how large that they could be.

On the notice they received, they were told that they could not erect a sign more than seven feet above ground level; the signs cannot be placed more than seven days before the event; have to be removed three days after the show and shall not be placed anywhere near junctions.

The Council is also insisting that organisations must produce evidence of public liability insurance to the tune of €6.5 million prior to the erection of the signs – and they must seek approval of the Gardaí.

Galway County Council also stipulates that no event shall take place at the same venue for more than three years – which would massively impact on a lot of events that take place at the same venue year in, year out.

Former Galway East TD Paul Connaughton, who was heavily involved in last weekend’s Mountbellew Agricultural Show, said that the rules and regulations were very difficult to comply with.

“If you stuck to the letter of the law, then there would never be a show or a festival taking place across County Galway. The requirements are punishing and cannot be fully implemented by any committee.

“Effectively, we are jumping through hoops in an effort to try and please Galway County Council but the conditions that they have imposed make it very difficult for community groups to operate.

“We tried as much as we could to stick to the guidelines that were issued to us but not all of them could be adhered to. Sure, if we abided by every guideline that was issued to us, then it would be impossible to host any show. The Council will have to go back and have a look at what they want committees to comply with,” he added.

The Council have also insisted that no advertisement sign shall be exhibited more than 2.5 metres above ground level. They cannot be erected more than seven days prior to the event and must be removed three days after.

Galway County Council are stipulating that an event cannot take place at the same location more than three times a years while they also require Garda approval for any signs that are erected.