Calls made for webcasting of SDCC meetings

by Mark O'Brien
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Cllr Timmons cited concerns over the increase in traffic due to the proposed Clonburris Strategic Development Zone as the reason for requesting the transport review

An online petition is calling for South Dublin County Council to webcast council meetings.
The petition was started by Cllr Francis Timmons (Ind), who said he was disappointed that the council had rejected a proposal to broadcast meetings last year.

Cllr Timmons said: “I think this is vital for openness and transparency. While the council chamber has a public gallery there are many reasons the public can’t attend.

“Online webcasting would allow the public and members of the media/press have full access to what is really said and goes on at council meetings.”

Prior to the previous motion being voted down, councillors were presented with a range of costing options for the installation and running of a webcasting system.

These ranged from approximately €53,000 over five years to €169,000 over five years.

Dublin Gazette contacted all South Dublin County councillors asking if they would be in favour of webcasting, with some councillors citing the cost as a factor in their decision.

Cllr Vicki Casserly said that she previously voted against the proposal as she would like to see the money used elsewhere.

“Webcasting, while in theory is an excellent idea, I just would see the money best spent on alternative projects within our county,” she said.

Cllr Conor McMahon said: “I am a new councillor and would support the petition in principle however I would like to see the costings of the proposal before supporting this petition.”

Cllr Danny O’Brien (SF) said: “At the recent SDZ meeting the grandstanding was unbelievable and this was holding up the meeting. If webcasting was in place this would be worse.”

Cllr Mark Ward (SF) disagreed with his party colleague and said that following the Clonburris meeting, he would consider supporting webcasting.

“It (webcasting) would have allowed the public to see Cllr Timmons and his independent group sabotaging the delivery of much-needed housing in our area,” he said.

Cllr Francis Duffy (GP) said that he would also support webcasting, as did Cllr Guss O’Connell (Ind).

Cllr O’Connell said: “SDCC is the only one of the four Dublin local authorities not to webcast. I and my community alliance colleagues tried to have it introduced at Budget time, but we were voted down.

“Hopefully, we will succeed this time with the backing of the people.”
A number of other councillors spoke in favour of the proposal.

Cllr Dermot Looney (SD) said: “I think it is time we joined other local authorities in live streaming and archiving council meeting footage.”

Cllr Emma Hendrick (PBP) said: “I would support this and People Before Profit have voted in favour of webcasting in the past.”

Cllr Madeleine Johansson (PBP) said: “In my opinion, SDCC is lagging behind other councils in not providing this service for the population.”

Cllr Martina Genocky (Lab) said: “I voted in favour of webcasting and would again if there was another vote, however I accept the democratic result of the vote taken on this last year.”

Cllr Trevor Gilligan (FF) said he was in favour of webcasting but Cllr Breeda Bonner (Lab) said she was not in favour.

Cllr Brendan Ferron (SF) also said he did not support webcasting while Cllr Mick Duff (Lab) said it was a “vanity project”.

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