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History made as members Zoom in to county council meeting

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.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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