The Green Party has today called on the Government to introduce a universal standard of transparency across the local government sector to ensure better public and media access to the workings of councils across the State.
The calls come as a battle rages in Cork city over public access to council and local area meetings, with plans to hold all meetings, bar one a month, behind closed doors. Recently, Kilkenny County Council has voted to ban public and media access to Strategic Policy Committee meetings of the council — a move that has been widely criticised.
“We are calling on the minister to introduce a single standard across local government where individual councils cannot arbitrarily restrict freedom of the press or public access to meetings,” said Green councillor and local government spokesman Malcolm Noonan.
“Such a standard should mean media and public access to plenary meetings as well as other associated structures of the council.”
He also called for live streaming of meetings. “The Green Party shares the concern expressed by journalists and notes the recent report by Transparency International Ireland on local government where many issues of transparency and accountability were highlighted as being inadequate across many councils."