Some Kilkenny councillors are raising concerns about public access to their meetings.
The local authority is amending its standing orders to allow sessions to be conducted virtually under the current restrictions.
At the recent meeting of meeting of Kilkenny City Municipal District, it was stated that the recording and live streaming of all meetings will remain strictly prohibited.
But Cllr Eugene Mc Guinness says that should be reconsidered to allow greater transparency telling KCLR News “I would prefer the public could see the workings of council, I would prefer that they could listen in, that they could watch what’s going on, and they could see exactly who was asking the questions and how they were framed and I think it’s very, very important for a democracy that we should see that and I would certainly support any effort to livestream so that people in Kilkenny or anywhere could look in on what their politicians are doing”.
Some counties have already begun live streaming their council meetings, including Cork City Council, but there are questions over whether Kilkenny should do the same.
Cllr David Fitzgerald says he would support the practice locally, but has doubts about the level of demand for it noting “I’m a firm believer that everything we do in public life should be viewable and open for scrutiny and I would certainly support the introduction of live streaming of council meetings, I suppose on a slightly lighter note, I have to give a health warning to the general public in how they are actually at times quite dull and they won’t be quite like reality TV but, in all seriousness, it is important that there is public oversight of all our meeting”.
While Kilkenny’s Mayor, John Coonan, is also open to the idea, he’s concerned that it could lead to an element of showboating saying “I have no problem with live streaming but I suppose that’s if it’s in the best interests of the service to the public and in the best interests of the quality of service that’s provided”.
He adds “Some people might feel that if they’re being streamed in that manner that some people might take the opportunity or take advantage of trying to hog the meetings instead of doing the business but I have no hard or fast opinion on it but it would have to be decided by the local authority themselves democratically in the first place as to whether we would go live or stream the meetings and as well as that that we would have the facilities that would allow us do the streaming as well”.