There has been outrage amongst local council election candidates after posters for SDLP European election candidate Alex Attwood were apparently torn down in a number of places around Lisburn.
It has been reported that SDLP election posters have disappeared from Aghalee and Lisburn in recent days.
The removal of the posters in Aghalee is said to have occurred on April 17 between 7.30pm and 10.15pm and in Lisburn between 5pm and 11.30pm on April 18.
Alliance Killultagh representative Jonathan McCrea condemned the actions of whoever removed the posters. “Across Europe people are standing for a democratic election, erecting election posters, delivering leaflets and canvassing,” he said.
“Yet there are those in our society who are quite happy to openly defy the rule of law and illegally remove election posters. The removal of election posters is illegal, anti-democratic and both incidents have been reported to the PSNI.”
Downshire East Alliance representative Aaron McIntyre continued: “There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of some individuals to remove Alliance posters. We are not suggesting any political party is explicitly involved in their removal, but clear patterns are emerging.
“The Alliance Party is committed to building a shared future and it is clear that those removing the posters view us as a threat to the tribal carve-up politics of ‘Orange’ and ‘Green’, which suit some political parties.
“We will not be deterred, intimidated or bullied, by those individuals who try to damage our campaign for a better Northern Ireland.”
Lisburn Ulster Unionist Councillor and candidate for Downshire West Councillor Alexander Redpath said: “There appears to be a concerted effort on the part of some individuals to remove Alliance posters.
“I was the first person to get posters up at the start of the campaign and inevitably some have been removed as other parties erect their posters.
“This is all part of the rough and tumble of political life.
“I don’t think the general public have much affection for election posters and so I don’t think they’ve much sympathy for candidates like myself who have theirs taken down.
“However this activity is illegal and I would urge members of the public to report any suspicious activity. Unless people are caught in the act very little can be done about this problem by the PSNI.”
Anyone with information about the incidents are asked to contact the police in Lisburn on the new non-emergency number 101.