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More than two dozen Sinn Féin election posters removed
SINN Féin have condemned the theft of more than two dozen posters belonging to council election candidates over the past week.
Posters promoting candidates contesting the May 22 council election have been removed in the Trillick, Omagh and Clanabogan areas, in some cases just hours after they were erected.
The party have branded the actions of those responsible as “undemocratic”.
Trillick council candidate Stephen McCann said more than one dozen of his posters put up in the Trillick area last weekend were taken down within days. Up to eight of the posters removed were confined to the Badoney, Rosnareen and Derryallen areas.
A series of posters belonging to Sinn Féin councillors Frankie Donnelly and Sorcha McAnespy were also removed within hours of being erected along the Dromore Road in Omagh and Clanabogan.
Posters belonging to first time Sinn Féin candidate Catherine Kelly were also removed in other areas of Omagh.
Stephen McCann claimed those responsible were well organised, using ladders, transportation and cutting equipment.
Describing the actions as “petty” and “childish”, he said, “Whenever you put your head above the parapet and put yourself forward for election, you don’t really need this. It’s not very democratic. Like any political party going for election, our posters shouldn’t be touched.
“But it seems we are being singled out again. We faced this at the last election,” he added.
“Taking down posters isn’t going to deter us,” affirmed the candidate. “It’s not going to change anything and if anything only makes me more determined to get elected.
“I would ask those responsible to sit back and reflect on their actions and I would ask them to desist,” added Mr McCann.
Cllr Frankie Donnelly said party members had erected eight posters bearing his image across several miles of the Dromore Road on Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, all but one of the posters remained. While Sinn Féin election posters have in previous years ended up on eleventh night bonfires, Cllr Donnelly said it was impossible to speculate who was responsible.
“You would be hoping that people would become more tolerant of different opinions. Particularly around election time there are all kinds of opinions, but everyone deserves their place on a pole, if that’s how they choose to promote themselves. We would just ask people to leave them alone,” he said.
DUP MLA Maurice Morrow has also claimed that a number of election posters belonging to DUP European candidate Diane Dodds were removed in Dungannon and Donaghmore on Wednesday evening.
Cllr Donnelly continued, “Irrespective of who the candidate is, or what party they belong to, leave the posters alone and let the election run its course. We will get them down as quick as we can after the election. In previous elections my posters have been taken down on the night of the election,” he said.
It’s understood that the removal of the posters have not yet been reported to police, however a PSNI spokesperson said police would investigate any reports of the theft or criminal damage of election posters once a report was made.