Fine Gael Cllr deems claim she tore down fellow candidates posters as "scandalous"

A sitting Fine Gael Cllr running in next month's local elections has deemed an accusation that she was seen tearing down fellow candidates as "scandalous"

Laytown/Bettystown Fine Gael Cllr Sharon Tolan became aware of a post on social media claiming that she had been spotted removing posters from railings in Donacarney yesterday morning.

Tolan says she was actually trying to help candidates, Cllr Elaine McGinty, Cllr Stephen McKee and first time runner Maria White by tidying up and placing their posters in a safe place after they had been left strewn in the footpath.

"The claim was absolutely outrageous," said the Fine Gael Cllr.

"The lady who made it called to my door last night to apologise," she added.

"It was an extremely damaging post to write about me particularly when she wasn't claiming to have seen it herself, she was claiming somebody else had seen it. It was really very upsetting."

Tolan explains what actually happened in the incident.

"I was notified by a passerby early yesterday morning that all candidate posters had been cut down and were lying strewn on the footpath.

" I knew in that particular area there was a busy footpath for children going into play school.

"I got in the car and went up and tidied up the posters, leaned my colleagues poster against the wall and reattached mine and tidied up all the cable ties that had been cut and I phoned the three candidates posters that had also been cut down to let them know what had happened, what I had done and where the posters were safe and out of the way.

"I didn't want to attach the other posters and I didn't know where on the railings they were because I didn't want to be accused of preferential treatment of one over another."

The use of posters for elections has been called into question in recent years but Cllr Sharon Tolan says a ban would be unfair for new candidates.

"I don't go the count centre the next day for the opening of the boxes, myself and my husband go out and take them down straight away," said the Laytown/Bettystown Councillor.

"At the end of the day, it is once every five years. It would be very easy for me to have said, I;m going poster free this time or to try to shame anybody else into going poster free but at the end of the day I was a first time candidate once upon a time as well and name recognition and face recognition is difficult. I would maybe support two or three central locations where each candidate could only put up one poster.

"The most important part of the campaign in the canvas and knocking on the doors and actually asking for the vote and having a chat with people and I'm clocking up the steps in relation to that."