Ask A Broadsheet Reader


Pro choice campaigners block a graphic banner from the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (ICBR) outside the Rotunda Hospital,  Parnell Square, Dublin 1 last week

Robin Stewart writes:

I’ve been trying to work out who to report illegal referendum posters to? Reckon it’s probably local authority but which section? Environment? Literally dozens upon dozens of illegal posters all around Meath, I wanted to rip them all down myself but hoped maybe the perpetrators could be fined? Ye’re clued-in, any suggestions?



36 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

      1. Ina

        So? Isn’t it worth the chance of getting arrested? Abortion rights are worth far more than the fear of arrest. It’s time to get brave.

          1. Martco

            in my personal experience seems that people see them for what they are, they might well serve the Yes campaign rather than their intended purpose.

            For a variety of reasons I think the population are FAR better educated than they were in 1983 have better access to information & feel far less beholden to any dogma matters. For sure within my own family & workplace the younger ones see them in a Fr Ted Down With That Sort Of Thing vein….

            so I’d say don’t yourself or advise others to play with them…don’t get me wrong I have no respect for them but they’re just a deliberate drama like buckets o’ guts & fake nurses. you vandalising them just creates more noise & distracts from the real purpose of this vote & proper reasoning.

            (and as ever) VOTE YES!

          2. Cian

            @Martco “For a variety of reasons I think the population are FAR better educated than they were in 1983”
            I agree… but that vote passed by 67%

            I just hope there are enough better educated this time around.

            Don’t be complacent – get out and vote!!

          3. Martco

            agree with you 100% Cian

            no complacency here though dontcha worry (sure I’ve been saying that too for weeks here) it’s just would be easy enough no matter how heartfelt to fall into the trap of indulging the No drama by interfering with the posters directly by pulling down defacing etc.

          4. Cian

            @Martco – it wasn’t aimed (specifically) at you, but at everyone:

            Get out and vote!!

        1. Rob_G

          @ Ina, freedom of speech isn’t just for people who happen to agree with you.

          “So? Isn’t it worth the chance of getting arrested? [Babies’ lives/the sanctity of marriage] are worth far more than the fear of arrest. It’s time to get brave.”

          If you see a poster you think is breaking the law, contact the Gardaí

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Difficult to take something down unless you have a ladder and a knife handy. Do you keep them in the back of your car, or in your handbag?

  1. rotide

    Once you clarify exactly which posters you are talking about , either Sentient Won or TheRealJane will have unbiased information for you.

  2. newsjustin

    Do these stand-up banners (on wheels) have to follow the same rules as pole posters?

    Maybe Robin could explain why the posters he’s seeing are illegal. There’s been a number of cases where people think posters are illegal because they don’t have printers details, etc, but they do and some people just aren’t looking close enough.

  3. Gabby

    A sandwich man can stand on the footpath advertising attractively priced set lunches in a nearby city restaurant. There lies an advertising idea for people advocating how to vote in the abortion referendum.
    BTW Today the postman delivered through my letterbox three items relating to the 25th May event :- a) a polling card, b) a leaflet from the Yes advocates, c) a leaflet from the No advocates. An Post seems to be making a harder effort than some media in taking a ‘balanced’ stance on the referendum.
    Along with the three items of mail above I have received a flyer from a local supermarket offering me a 10 euro discount if I go and buy 50 euro worth of groceries this coming weekend. Truly I am blessed with diverse communications today and I am beginning to feel that somebody up there likes me.

  4. The Old Boy

    While I don’t doubt Mr Stewart’s bona fides, I would like to know why he thinks they are illegal.

    If he believes they are in contravention of the Electoral Acts, it is a matter for the Gardaí alone.

    If the posters are hazardous to public safety or traffic, then they may be removed by the Gardaí or the local authority.

    The ESB are authorised to, and actively remove posters attached to their infrastructure on safety grounds.

    The only posters that can be removed by private citizens who do not own them are the occupiers of private property on whose property the posters were erected without permission.

    1. Martco


      on a side note the ESB have full rein on anything deemed to threaten the network & safety of the public such as a dangerous tree..isn’t a matter for planning dept etc.

  5. Wall to wall ghee bags

    Yes great idea to curtail the freedom of speech rights of those with whom you disagree that will really convince the undecideds

    1. pedeyw

      Look closely: the clue is in the word “illegal.” If the posters make claims that are unsupported by any evidence or out and out lies, it’s not immoral or curtailing free speech to remove them, it’s stopping the spread of lies. Surely we all want that?

      1. The Old Boy

        Lying in election and referendum campaigns is not yet illegal, whether on posters or elsewhere.

      2. Cian

        Free speech isn’t designed to stop people from lying. That is what the ‘free’ bit is – you are free to say anything…

      3. Wall to wall ghee bags

        Thanks I’ll be able to form my own judgment on that I don’t need a nanny

  6. ____

    Depends on how they break the rules.

    Posters on national roads/junctions/signposts etc. should be reported to local authorities.
    Posters on ESB poles should be reported to the ESB.

  7. Paul

    Regarding the picture above – it’s so weird that there is one group trying to suppress another group from getting their point across in the fashion they have chosen and that the initial group feels like they are in the right.

    In my experience this is reflective of the repeal side in general, it is the left eating itself.

    1. Wall to wall ghee bags

      No it isn’t

      It’s some well meaning but over zealous individuals – just like those promulgating many lies and bogus statistics on the opposite side

      1. Paul

        Well meaning and over zealous individuals leaning to the left politically who are attempting to suppress the free speech that they would no doubt fight tooth and nail for on any other day – they are literally consuming their own ideals in front of us in this pic.

        So yes, it is.

  8. SB

    It’d be so much simpler if no posters at all, or objectionable hand-held placards, were allowed

    1. pedeyw

      I’m with you on that, especially on a referendum as nuanced as this. The no campaign would have had a meltdown, though. Just look at the tantrum mcguirk had over google.

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