THE MAYOR of Limerick has written an open letter to The Irish Examiner newspaper after a controversial advertising hoarding displaying Limerick in a negative light was torn down in broad daylight early yesterday morning.
Mayor Gerry McLoughlin says he believes the advertising campaign to promote an upcoming series on crime in Irish towns and cities, including Limerick, is “irresponsible” and “alarmist” while promoting sales of the newspaper.
The mayor urged that these posters should be removed immediately and “replaced by ones that state that we are safe places to do business, work in, visit and live in”.
The offending billboard campaign, which was erected at Colbert Station, shows a sweeping view of King John’s Castle and the River Shannon, with crime scene tape plastered across the scene. The question is then asked: ‘Just how safe is Limerick?’
Replicas of this scene with iconic shots in Kerry, Cork and Clare have also been erected across Munster, in advance of the publication of the crime series next week.
The editor of the Irish Examiner, Tim Vaughan, yesterday defended his newspaper’s controversial advertising campaign, saying that “people are jumping to the wrong conclusion” and described the reaction in Limerick as “unfortunate”.
He said the paper has a “great relationship with Limerick” and believes it has covered more positive Limerick stories than any other national newspaper.
He said the poster campaign was initiated to “get a reaction”, but added that this was “in no way a victimisation of Limerick”.
He said he stands over the “overall campaign” and said it would have been disingenuous to exclude Limerick from the campaign.
“Should we treat Limerick differently?” he asked.
UL economist Stephen Kinsella has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland about the hoarding, saying it “misrepresents the true nature of crime in Limerick city and does so, I believe, in a malicious and vexatious manner.”
It is understood that as of this Wednesday another billboard has been erected on the Roxboro Road in the city.
For more on this story see the weekend editions of the Limerick Leader.