In the wake of the farcical scenes witnessed in the new Galway County Council chamber this week, local representative James Charity has called for live online streaming of meetings, so that the public can view proceedings for themselves.
Councillor Charity labelled the behaviour at Wednesday's monthly council meeting as 'utterly disgraceful.' Proceedings were held up for more than two hours as a dispute arose over seating arrangements in the chamber. Essentially, the first three seats were in dispute, which Fianna Fáil wished to occupy (and did at this meeting. )
The first three seats at the table have been occupied by Sinn Féin representatives Dermot Connolly, Tom Healy, and Gabe Cronnelly following last year's local elections. However it was pointed out that because Fine Gael councillors were sitting across the table, it was always tradition that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael sat opposite one another.
Sinne Féin's Gabe Cronnelly outlined his requirement to occupy seat number one due to the fact he has a prosthetic leg and the space which the seat provided was necessary for him. Fianna Fail were prepared to offer the seat to Cllr. Cronnelly only provided he sat beside their councillors and was separated in arrangements from his other two party members.
Commenting on the proposal to introduce live streaming of meetings, Councillor Charity stated “If carried, this will ensure that all future meetings of the Council are available for voters and general members of the public to view online live as it happens. This will facilitate such persons in being able to monitor the conduct and performance of their elected representatives in the Council Chamber and act as a deterrent to the ridiculous conduct witnessed earlier this week. It is vitally important that transparency and accountability is at the forefront of how our elected members and the Council conducts its business.”