Road sign bye-laws queried

Removal of political posters raised by councillors

Elected members have called into question the effectiveness of existing bye-laws governing temporary road signage with some suggesting a full review to ensure compliance in future.

The joint motion was tabled by members elected to the Ballyjamesduff Municipal District area - Winston Bennett, Trevor Smith and TP O’Reilly (FG), Philip Brady and Craig Lovett (FF), and Independent Shane P O’Reilly. They sought to address the removal of roadside signage after an event has taken place.

It was stated by Cllr O’Reilly (Ind) that “99% of organisations” complied with the rules mapped out across the Planning and Development Act 2000, and Regulations 2001, Roads Act 1993, and Litter Pollution Act 1997, which requires sign removal within seven days of an event taking place.

“Unfortunately,” he said, there were situations where this was not complied with, and noted that at election time, politicians risked large fines for failing to remove signs on time.

There were though, he pointed out, circumstances where “some political parties” had signs up “24 hours, 365 days of the year” with nothing done to remove them.

Fine Gael’s TP O’Reilly recalled that, when one local business put up signs along the N3, they were cut down by the TII because they did not have the required planning permission.

He said it was “very annoying” for community groups also to put in effort to have signs erected only for them to go missing. “Does it need to be reviewed?” he asked of the bye-laws in existence, adding: “If so, will we do it?”

Winston Bennett (FG) said he had no problem with out of date signage being taken down as, not only was the information wrong and confusing, but “unsightly” and a distraction to motorists.

“There are some I’ve seen that are six months out of date.”

Fellow party colleague Peter McVitty (FG) stated that he had raised the same concern “years ago” about the rows of signs placed on roadsides on the N3 into Cavan.

He too had no problem with signs being put up by community groups, or as was the case entering Ballyconnell, celebrating local achievement such as the success of golfer Leona Maguire, but there came a time they should be removed.

Cllr McVitty also queried why political posters put up by him were taken down and returned when others had been left up in the same location. “Why did it happen? I asked that same question then, and I’m asking it again now.”

Aontú’s Sarah O’Reilly shared a similar experience, and described the reason she was provided with as “not valid”.

Furthermore it was reported to Monaghan County Council that a poster belonging to her was up in the Castleblayney area after the last General Election one day more than permitted, for which she was fined several hundred euro.

Yet, she added, there was “one political party” that seemed “to be building houses out of signs” with nothing done about it.

Acting Director of Services, Senior Engineer for Roads, John McKiernan, ran through the legislation with councillors, and asked that, if elected members had particular incidents, to report them to the roads office.

Temporary signs had to be taken down within seven days of an event taking place, and those erected longer required planning permission.

Outgoing Cathaoirleach Clifford Kelly asked that the council’s executive “look at” the concerns raised by councillors and “come back to us”.

“It’s fairness we want,” offered Cllr O’Reilly (Ind), who asked that an inspection be carried out in each of the MDs.


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