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Posters are integral to Galway’s free elections

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Posters are integral to Galway’s free elections Posters are integral to Galway’s free elections

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column by Dara Bradley

Mike Cubbard, the Independent Councillor gunning for an unprecedented three-in-a-row of poll-topping performances in successive Local Elections in Galway City Central, has vowed not to use posters in the upcoming campaign.

It worked for him five years ago. Back then, he was elected to Galway City Council on the first count with about 150 first preference votes more than the quota.

Why would he bother spending money on posters, this time round, when he has already demonstrated he does not need them?

It’s clever politics, too. Taking the high moral ground – that he is not using posters out of concern for the environment – piles pressure on the likes of Green Party Councillors, Martina O’Connor (a rival in City Central) and Niall Murphy, who casual observers of politics might think would be in favour of poster-free campaigns to save the planet.

They should not take the bait, however. If O’Connor and Murphy and any other candidate do not want to use posters, they don’t have to.

But it is a free election, in a country where posters were historically part and parcel of the democratic process.

No candidate – particularly newcomers and first-time candidates who need posters to raise public awareness of their candidacy – should be shamed into running a campaign without posters because one well-known sitting councillor feels he will be re-elected comfortably without using posters.

Don’t use them if you don’t need them. But let’s stop shaming candidates who choose posters to raise their profile and win votes during the allotted 30-days period they can legally be erected prior to polling day.

Postering is integral to Irish elections. We look forward to the airbrushed photos, and recycled posters of previous campaigns that take at least five years off candidates, during this year’s elections to Galway City Council.

Pictured: Mike Cubbard with his aunts Margaret Fitzgerald and Bridget McPhilbin at the Westside Count Centre after his election in 2019.

 

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