Belfast Telegraph

Election posters to be banned during the Giro d'Italia in Northern Ireland

By John Mulgrew

Election posters are to be banned during the Giro d'Italia, it has been revealed.

Discussions surrounding the removal of posters during one of the world's biggest cycling road races has been ongoing since February.

Posters have already begun appearing on lamp posts across Belfast and beyond, in the run-up to the European and local council elections.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan had urged all political parties to voluntarily keep the route of next May's event free of the political placards.

As well as writing to all the party leaders, he also reviewed legislation around the erection of posters on lampposts.

The three-day start of the Giro d'Italia is set to attract some 140,000 spectators to Northern Ireland.

Kicking off on May 9, it will pass dramatic Atlantic breakers and the Unesco World Heritage site of the Giant's Causeway.

Time trials will be held in Belfast, taking in the stately home of the Northern Ireland Parliament at Stormont, before a final leg from the ecclesiastical capital of Armagh to Dublin.

This is the first time the country has hosted an event of this scale attracting such global interest.

More than 200 of the world's elite riders will take part.

Stormont's main political parties have met to discuss a voluntary prohibition from May 8-11.

A spokesman for the Department of Enviroment said there had been "widespread acceptance on a voluntary ban, but it was emphasised that this needed to be reinforced with legislative backing".

"DoE officials are currently working on the practical arrangements and the urgent preparation of the necessary changes to the legislation to bring election posters under planning control.

"It is envisaged that the new regulations will come into operation on April 23, 2014."

Further reading

25 days until the Giro d'Italia - and here's a fact for every one of them

Giro d'Italia organisers hoping for 140,000 spectators along race route 

Benvenuti, Giro d'Italia! The big 50-day countdown begins to one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar 

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