Streaming of council meetings ‘fraught with danger’

Live streaming of county council meetings in Kerry would be fraught with danger, officials advised due to the risk of some councillors “getting carried away” in full throttle.

Streaming of council meetings ‘fraught with danger’

However, the meetings, often colourful affairs with loud and heightened use of rich Hiberno-English at the most heated moments, are only to be broadcast after being edited.

Live streaming facilities, with full video, wifi facilities and a mobile translation booth – including Irish as well as Chinese – had been installed last summer as part of a €250,000 revamp of the council chamber in Tralee.

A motion was tabled to initiate the process to allow the public direct access, and capture the “nuances” missed by the media.

But following legal advice, councillors were told they should not consider live viewing.

Mayor of Kerry John Brassil said a report from head of corporate affairs John Flynn had advised on “substantive issues relating to defamation”.

“By live streaming the meeting, the council would, in effect, be publishing the defamation exposing the body corporate. Mr Flynn advised the CPG that based on the legal advice this proposal is fraught with danger,” the mayor warned.

TDs and senators had full privilege in the Oireachtas but councillors did not, the meeting was told.

Cllr Toireasa Ferris (SF) favoured streaming, given the investment, but indicated she would be satisfied with an edited version.

A number of county councils, including Fingal, are live streaming.

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