REMOTE access to meetings of Clare County Council may continue into the future, members were told, after a number of them joined the November meeting via Zoom.
Standing Orders were amended to give effect to a Ministerial Order drawn up in response to Level 5 restrictions, meaning that councillors can attend meetings virtually, as necessary.
“This is a historic occasion,” said the council’s Chief Executive Pat Dowling, as members including Councillors Donna McGettigan, Ian Lynch, Pat Hayes and Tony O’Brien connected by video link. Mr Dowling noted that a national template had issued to all councils and he thanked meetings coordinator Ann Reynolds for her work in facilitating the new arrangements.
Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy questioned whether the arrangement was limited by time, to which Mr Dowling replied that it would be kept under review. “A number of local authorities, like those in Dublin, had been offering remote access even before Covid-19,” he noted. “It is at the discretion of members of the council.”
Councillor PJ Kelly asked whether legal advice had been about voting remotely on budget estimates and Mr Dowling replied that that was covered in the Ministerial Order.
The motion to amend Standing Orders was proposed by Councillor Colleran Molloy and seconded by Councillor Patrick O’Gorman.