Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (236)

Thomas Pringle


236. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on the decision based on advice of officials of Kilkenny County Council by a majority vote to ban the presence of the media and members of the public from SPC meetings in standing orders; his plans to issue guidance to local authorities on the matter; if the Local Government Act 2014 will be amended to ensure that all meetings of local authorities are publicly accessible and broadcast over the Internet as matter of course and transparency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24755/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 45(5) of the Local Government Act 2001 provides that a local authority may, by standing orders, regulate the right of members of the public and members of the media to be present at meetings of the Council. This includes meetings of Strategic Policy Committees (SPCs), whose role is to advise and assist the Council in the formulation, development and review of policy.

This provision would include the making, by standing orders, of rules in relation to the recording or relaying of the proceedings as they take place or at a later stage. It is therefore a matter for the elected members of each local authority to decide in the first instance to webcast local authority meetings and then to allocate sufficient funding from their annual budget for the provision of such facilities.  

My Department, however, recognises the potential in the use of technology to strengthen local democracy, leadership and governance and potential measures to boost local government leadership and accountability in the area of e-Democracy and e-Governance will be considered further.