A former Ulster member of the European Parliament has said he is concerned that attempts to remove election posters from the route of the Giro D’Italia may make it look like the Province is not a part of Europe.
This week the SDLP led calls for posters to be voluntarily kept off the route of the world-famous cycle race as it passes through Northern Ireland.
After support from other parties, the DUP suggested that regulations should be introduced to prohibit election posters along the route, lest some parties choose to not abide by a voluntary ban.
The race coincides with the May 22 European and local council elections.
Lord Kilclooney said that he was “shocked” to see unionists suggest such a measure.
And he questioned whether the SDLP, as a pro-European party, realised that the election was taking place across the entire EU - not just in Northern Ireland.
The peer said that when the cyclists left Northern Ireland to travel into the Republic, there would be election posters “the whole way to Rome” — but not in Northern Ireland.
He said that once they crossed the border they would see “great Sinn Fein posters and great Fianna Fail posters”, something which would be replicated, country by country, as they travelled to Italy.