Breathnach’s election billboard removed without TD’s knowledge
Local TD Declan Breathnach’s campaign team have moved to clear up the issue regarding the removal of his election poster from the Queen’s Building at the Market Square/Crowe Street, insisting it was removed without their consent by an unknown party.
A huge poster calling for people to vote for the Fianna Fáil TD was erected on the delipidated town centre building in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The advertisement was met with criticism in certain quarters with some saying it shouldn’t be allowed given local solicitor Catherine Fee – whose practice is based in the Queen’s Building – was forced to remove a banner promoting her business after a failed planning retention bid last year.
When Talk of the Town raised the matter with Deputy Breathnach on Monday he insisted he had permission from the owner of the building to place his recycled billboard there, just as he had in 2016.
It looked as though the Knockbridge man had made a U-turn when the poster then disappeared yesterday morning.
However, Deputy Breathnach’s team clarified the issue this morning, saying they were not the ones who removed it.
The Fianna Fáil TD’s Director of Elections Andrea McKevitt said: “I would like to begin by again reiterating that permission was sought prior to erecting the banner early on Saturday morning from the property owner. We had a guarantee from our team they would arrange to remove the poster as soon as the election is over and before any ballot boxes would be opened.
“On Monday 20th January at 7pm I received a phone call from a member of the poster team to say the banner had been removed, I drove through the town at 5:45pm on the same evening and the banner was still there, however it looked slightly tampered with.
“At the time of receiving this phone call we were unsure of where the banner was or who removed it, however we have been since told it can be collected from the building today (22nd January). We are unsure what condition it is in,” said Andrea.
She continued: “It was not our decision to remove the banner, this removal took place without us knowing, from a conversation Declan engaged in with the owner on the morning of the 20th it was clear pressure was being applied on the owner to have the banner removed, and he (the owner) left the conversation saying he would revert to Declan if there were any further issues.
“It is frustrating when something like this happens during a campaign, and is unfair on the men who secured this banner, who gave up precious time to assist in this project.
“We were conscious when using this banner as many know it was used in Declan’s 2016 General Election Campaign with enhancements made for this year’s Election. Declan has reused all his 2016 election posters, something he holds great pride in.
“As Director Of Elections it is hurtful that some have gone to extreme lengths to see this banner removed, but my motto is let’s rise above it and get those doors knocked!”