The mystery of the missing election posters

The mystery of the missing election posters

As candidates across the county took down their election posters and billboards, they've noticed that quite a lot of them have gone missing.

While it's normal to lose a certain amount - to the elements and to vandalism, the number seems to be creeping up due to the versatile usefulness of the poster board itself, the Democrat can reveal.

Corriboard, the material on which the posters are printed, is a fluted polypropylene sheet which is relatively inexpensive, extremely durable and chemical and water resistant.

It's widely used in the construction industry, especially during re-fits, to protect floors, walls, windows, stairs and doors.

James McGrath of Erne Print in Ballyshannon told the Democrat that people here in the county are well aware of the material's usefulness and many are putting election posters to creative uses.

"I've known people to mix concrete on top of it, because it's waterproof and very strong.

I've also seen people using them in sheds, in the back of vans, and under floor boards for insulation.

It's not dear, around €6-7 per sheet if you're buying a pallet, which is far cheaper than insulation."

There is a serious potential downside, however, he warns. "Corriboard is highly flammable. People are really taking a chance if they are using it for insulation, especially in a house as the house insurance would be void if there was a fire.”

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty, TD said he was aware that some of his billboards had gone missing, and was of the view that they were taken deliberately. “You see them popping up sometimes, years later,” he added.

Cllr John Campbell, campaign director for Thomas Pringle TD (Ind) said he thinks about 10% of their 800 posters are missing and 15 of their 60 billboards. “I only found one billboard that was damaged. Tthe others were gone with the posts, etc.

“I've been told they are great for lying on under tractors or cars,” he laughed. His only concern, Cllr Campbell added, is that the posters and billboards might be dumped at a later date.

“With the candidate's face on the poster, it would mean that they could be held responsible,” he warned.

Cllr Niamh Kennedy, who ran unsuccessfully as an Independent, told the Democrat that she bought 500 posters and used some from the local election. “There certainly aren't 300 back yet. An awful lot are missing. I got a call this week from a girl in Inishowen to say that she'd found two of my posters dumped into her back yard.

“I don't mind anybody asking for them to recycle, say to put a different poster on the back,” she said. “One woman even asked me could she take one for her bees.”

Mark Sweeney, DCC Area Manager Roads and Transportation, said council staff removed a number of posters and billboards in dangerous locations and are storing them at depots. “A large number have not been claimed,” he told the Democrat.