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‘I have a family to support’ – no election posters for Upper Bann candidate

One Upper Bann candidate says he is refusing to mount election posters because they are simply too expensive and he has a family to support first and foremost.

Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie says the issue of self-promoting posters is one that has challenged him for years.

There has been a consensus from all the main parties in several constituencies that election posters will not be utilised, however, no such agreement is in place in Upper Bann.

Despite none appearing at present, it’s unlikely this will remain the case before March 2.

“My stance is clear – I am fundamentally apposed to election posters for a number of reason,” said Mr Beattie.

“Firstly the expense. Elected representatives are well paid but not to the point they have an endless pot of money. Looking at this personally, I have a mortgage, a family to support, a car to keep on the road and all the household bills you would expect any person to have.

“I cannot afford to pay £1,200 for 200 posters along with thousands more for canvass leaflets and postal literature. As there is often little monetary support from central party funds, this comes from my pocket, and although the prize is great, I simply do not have the money to cover all the costs and would be left in serious debt if not elected.

“Secondly, they can obscure the road ahead or junctions for turning traffic. They create a distraction, they are divisive and dividing. Some posters are written on, some are taken down, others are ripped off in the wind. They are unsightly and serve no purpose in the long term although for new candidates they may have an effect in the short term.”

He added: “It is worth noting that the local Neighbourhood PSNI team have concerns that posters will be taken down, retained, and will appear on 11th Night Bonfires.

“This is something the community must address and it is worth starting that process now. It does not help the image of those who wish to celebrate their culture if it is done with a perception of hate against those of a differing cultural background.

“This has happened here in recent years and this negativity is not helpful to anyone’s cause.

“I am sorry there has been no agreement in Upper Bann not to display posters but I will not criticise those who do. As for me I have decided that I will not, due to all the reasons given, be putting posters up around the constituency area. This is a unilateral decision but sometimes that’s how leadership works.

“Instead I will put posters up at the polling stations the Monday before the election and take them down the moment the polling stations are closed.

“I would encourage other candidates to do the same but that will be a decision for them.”

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