Limerick metropolitan councillors approve plans for remote meetings

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Limerick metropolitan councillors approve plans for remote meetings

The council chamber in busier times, long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit | PICTURE: ADRIAN BUTLER

METROPOLITAN councillors have amended their rules of business to allow for meetings to take place remotely if needs be.

With more and more meetings taking place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien has signed an order to allow statutory meetings to take place away from the council’s designated place of business.

It now means that, subject to local approval, meetings where decisions must be made can take place with members connecting in through internet teleconferencing facilities.

This approval has now taken place in the Limerick metropolitan district which means that in future, these meetings can take place away from the council chambers in Dooradoyle or City Hall, or indeed a combination of both to allow some members who would rather be present, to do so.

Independent councillor Elisa O’Donovan welcomed the move, but urged the meetings also be viewable by members of the public online.

Meetings administrator James Clune said this is something that can be facilitated.

Metropolitan leader, Cllr Srah Kiely said: “My preference would be for hybrid meetings, with some members attending, and some not. This chamber is going through a technical upgrade.”

She urged the situation be reviewed after six months to assess its effectiveness.

So far during lockdown, only committee meetings have been streamed on the internet. Meetings of the 40-member full council have been moved out to the Limerick Racecourse in Patrickswell to facilitate social distancing.

While meetings of the 21-member metropolitan district are now in the larger Dooradoyle chamber, having originally taken place in City Hall at Merchant’s Quay.