Ukip fury over anti-EU poster fine threat

Mr McNarry
Mr McNarry

Ukip has been ordered to remove posters urging a ‘No’ vote in the EU referendum, the party claimed.

Mr McNarry said that he had checked with Ukip officials across the UK and that there had been no attempts by government to remove the posters – which state ‘Say No - Believe in Britain’ – in England, Wales or Scotland.

He said that there had been an “ultimatum” to his office to remove the posters by 2pm on Friday or face a fine of £58 per poster.

Mr McNarry said that the posters had been put up by a psychiatric nurse who is a Ukip supporter but that he works at night and sleeps during the day, meaning that the 2pm deadline for Friday was impractical.

The Strangford MLA said that the action “raises the question of when is a campaign legitimate”.

Mr McNarry questioned whether the DUP regional development minister was aware of what was going on.

The DUP has always been a Eurosceptic party but has surprised many observers by not yet definitively stating that it will campaign for an ‘out’ vote in the referendum.

Mr McNarry asked: “Is the Regional Development Minister authorising her officials in Transport NI to issue ultimatums to prevent referendum posters being put up in Northern Ireland?”

The Ukip MLA pronounced himself “stunned” at the development and highlighted that “there’s a lot of other things they don’t remove from lampposts”.

David Jones, a Ukip councillor in Craigavon, said: “Over the years much has been made of flags, etc. on lampposts – in most cases with no resolution.

“We have to ask on what authority were we told to remove the posters and not only that but be subject to a fine?

“At a time when local political Parties are having problems getting the DRD to resolve light issues and pot hole repairs is appears we have an over enthusiastic civil servant laying down the law on posters. Have they nothing better to do?”

The Department for Regional Development said: “As a referendum has not yet been called there is no exemption for these posters.

“Therefore we are dealing with them in accordance with our normal procedures which involves removal and recovery of our costs.”

It added that the minister herself had no involvement in the matter.