Belfast Telegraph

Mark H Durkan may change law to ban Giro d'Italia route election posters

LINDA STEWART

Election posters along the route of the Giro d'Italia race could be banned using legislative means as a last resort, according to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

The minister has called on all political parties to voluntarily keep the route of the May race free of political placards, but he said legal advice suggests election posters could be banned from the route by making a change to the advertising regulations.

This would allow the department to restrict such posters in a particular area, either temporarily or indefinitely.

However, environment committee chair Anna Lo said there would be practical difficulties with the plan and it would be better to concentrate on taking down tattered flags and repainting murals showing scenes of violence.

"I really think election posters won't be as alien to viewers all over the world. It is the murals that are going to be very strange to people in Australia, in Fiji, in other countries, to see such horrible imagery – these very grotesque, tense scenes on our gable walls," she said.

"If there is a political agreement on election posters we should also agree on taking down the flags and repainting the murals. They all have a negative impact."

Mr Durkan said his call for voluntary removal of election posters has received a positive response from the SDLP, UUP, DUP and Alliance parties.

The Giro d'Italia takes place from May 9-11 and the Euro election is on May 22.

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