Northern Ireland

Posters banned from Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland stages

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Media captionMark H Durkan said parties may put posters up before or after the race

Election posters are to be banned from the route of the Giro d'Italia cycle race when it starts in Belfast next month.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has decided the route should be kept poster-free during the three days of races, from 9 to 11 May.

Any posters on the race route during this time will be removed.

However, posters can be put back up after the race, in the run-up to the European and local elections on 22 May.

The ban will also be in place the day before the race starts on Thursday, 8 May.

A DoE spokesperson said: "Minister Durkan met with representatives of the main political parties on 31 March 2014 to discuss the possibility of a voluntary ban on the display of election posters along the route of the Giro d'Italia from 8 - 11 May 2014.

"At that meeting, there was widespread acceptance on a voluntary ban, but it was emphasised that this needed to be reinforced with legislative backing.

"DOE officials are currently working on the practical arrangements and the urgent preparation of the necessary changes to the legislation to bring election posters under planning control."

Pink buildings

Earlier, more details of what spectators can expect at the Northern Ireland stages of the race were revealed.

A week-long festival is being held in Belfast, with other events on the Causeway coast and in Armagh.

Susie McCullough from the NI Tourist Board said the "planning's all done, we're just getting excited now".

"We're dressing buildings, we'll be turning buildings pink like the Albert Clock, city hall itself and also the Ulster Museum," she said.

"There will also be lots of unique activities."

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd had some advice for those who want to watch the race, as well as those who want to avoid it.

"Our advice to cycling fans is know where you want to go on the day, get up early, get there early and enjoy the day and be safe - these guys travel fast," he said.

"People who don't want to be involved in the cycling, who want to avoid some of the minor disruption around the event, understand where the event is over the days, make plans accordingly and either make other plans or use the public transport programme available."

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