herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Council to stream meetings live onto screens on street

it's not quite the West Wing but politicians in Dun Laoghaire will soon find themselves starring on TV.

Monthly council meetings are set to be broadcast onto a local street on a large screen TV, following a proposal put forward by local Independent councillor Michael Merrigan.

The proposal, which will be implemented in the coming months, was partly prompted by a lack of space in the council chamber for members of the public who want to attend meetings.

The move by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) will see a large flatscreen TV placed in the front window of the building on Marine Road so passers-by can see what is going on during meetings.

"I think it will help the public engage with how the council does business, and makes the process very open and transparent," Mr Merrigan (inset) told the Herald.

Engagement

"It facilitates better engagement and information about the processes involved in decision-making if people can see how the process works," he added.

Council meetings are already available to watch online, but Mr Merrigan thinks the idea of the public broadcasts, which have been approved and costed by the council, brings the council and the public closer.

A spokesperson for DLRCC said the idea of the video broadcast to the street was agreed at the November council meeting

As well as relaying the live proceedings the screen will be used as a public information platform at other times.

An exact implementation date has not yet been organised.

Mr Merrigan has also proposed that the monthly meetings be moved from the current chamber to a larger room.

"The current chamber was built in 1882 to hold 16 councillors, but that has now increased to 40 with changes brought about because more councillors are required to represent a growing population.

"At a typical meeting now you could have 40 councillors, as many representatives, and members of staff, the public and the press," Mr Merrigan explained.

"If I want to open a laptop it interferes with the person next to me, and if they want to open a document it closes my laptop. It is just very crowded," Mr Merrigan explained.

The matter of how and where to hold future meetings remains open for discussion in the council.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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