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Parties urged to remove election posters during Giro d’Italia

The Giro d'Italia will visit Belfast in May.

The Giro d'Italia will visit Belfast in May.

Political parties in Northern Ireland are under pressure to agree a pact to remove all election posters during the Giro d’Italia cycle race in May.

The event clashes with the run-up to polling for the European and local government elections and it is understood organisers want to keep the route free of party political placards and billboards to impress a TV audience estimated at 800 million.

Three stages of the race will take place in Belfast, the north coast and Co Armagh before the 200 cyclists head south for Dublin.

Up to 140,000 spectators are expected to line the various routes in Northern Ireland which will take in landmark buildings such as Parliament Buildings, Stormont, and Belfast City Hall as well as the spectacular Causeway Coast and Glens of Antrim.

Television coverage of one of the world’s great cycling events will be broadcast to 165 countries. Organisers believe pictures of some of Northern Ireland’s most scenic areas would look much better without the roadside posters.

The stages will take place on Friday May 9 to Sunday May 11, eleven days before votes are due to be cast for the European elections.

All sides were urged to delay the erection of posters or to remove them before the cyclists arrive.

Six towns have already been allocated a total of £145,000 to spend on improving the appearance of properties and derelict sites along the route.

Alex Attwood - a former environment minister in the power-sharing executive at Stormont, who will be the SDLP candidate - said a race without election posters presented a huge opportunity to showcase what was best about the landscape and tourist sites.

He added: “There is a responsibility to present the best possible picture of Northern Ireland. A poster-free tour routes makes sense. That will be my approach in the forthcoming period.”

 

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