Anti Austerity Alliance candidate defends right to poster in Blarney

28th April 2014
By Tom O’Sullivan and David O’Sullivan
tom@TheCork.ie and david@TheCork.ie

Anti Austerity Alliance candidate Liz Feehan has stated her intention to
stand by her democratic right to put up posters in Blarney. Liz has lived
in Blarney for 20 years and raised 2 children in the town. In her work as a
campaigner, Liz has always respect the request of the Blarney Community
Council not to poster in the village square.

She has decided to stand for election to challenge the policies of
austerity and home and water taxes which have hit her family and countless
other families in Blarney and around the country and to seek to represent
the interests of ordinary people in the Blarney-Macroom ward. Liz and the
AAA are not running a well-financed campaign, and unlike some other
politicians, do not have the resources to rent commercial advertising in
the Blarney. Posters are a key way for us to put out our message. A ban on
postering in Blarney will tend to benefit the establishment, pro-austerity
parties who can afford commercial advertising.

It has been stated that Blarney has a ‘poster free zone’. This is false-
the position of the Tidy Towns Committee is no more than their own opinion.
While we appreciate the important work done by the Tidy Towns Committee,
they are an unelected body linked to the Chamber of Commerce. They do not
represent the people of Blarney and do not have a right to set rules on
postering. We have a legal right to put up posters in Blarney and any
removal by others would be a violation of the law.

We are nonetheless happy to consider the position of the Tidy Towns
Committee in relation to postering in specific areas. Unfortunately, we
have found it very difficult in the last few days to get clarity on what
the issue is. We were aware of the Tidy Towns previous opinion regarding
posters in the village and we postered accordingly. We subsequently
received an email indicating that the ‘poster free zone’ extended much
further than this. The only specific area mentioned in this email was
Willison Park where Damien Boylan, a Fine Gael candidate, also has posters
up but the Tidy Towns statement says that ‘other parties have respected the
poster free zone.’ Damian Boylan is someone who liaises with Tidy Town
regularly because of his involvement in the Blarney Chamber of Commerce. We
hope there is no double standard at play here.

When we received the email from the Tidy Towns Committee, we contacted them
asking to discuss the issue. Instead of discussing the issue with us, Kate
Durrant representing the Tidy Towns Committee chose to attack our campaign
in the media.

Tonight we have received an email from the Tidy Towns Committee in relation
to the areas to which they have an objection, clarifying that their ‘poster
free zone’ does not extend to Willison. We welcome this clarification and
will now discuss their request and come to a decision.

We make no apology for using posters to put forward our message against
austerity, the water tax and for electing fighters for ordinary people. FF,
Labour and FG have posters within the so called ‘poster free zone’ I’m sure
they do not appreciate the criticisms of the government on our posters and
would want them to not be seen but that’s even more reason why we think
they should be up for people to see. We hope the Tidy Towns Committee will
now cease intervening in the election campaign in the biased manner in
which they have done.

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