Remote Covid-19 council meeting blackout in Laois

Virtual meetings legal but not possible

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

coronavirus covid-19

County Hall's Council Chamber in Portlaoise not Covid-19 virtual meeting friendly

The council chamber at County Hall in Portlaoise is not equipped to allow for meetings where some councillors can attend while others could attend from home and vote.

The Director of Services, Mr Gerry Murphy told councillors recently an order has been signed by Government to give legal backing that will allow meetings to be held remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, he was asked if it is possible for some members to attend remotely but others in person.

“It is not set up yet. It is an area we are looking at,” he told the Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting. He added that it could be 2021 before the chamber in the council is ready.

Cllr Aisling Moran suggested that it could be done faster. She said she was aware of businesses that had installed the technology in a short timeframe.

Cllr Moran, who is chair of the municipal district, was the victim of the shortcoming at a recent meeting when she could not attend in person but attempted to contribute with the assistance of a phone provided by a staff member.

Mr Murphy said he would seek an update for councillors.

Laois County Council's Chief Executive John Mulholland told councillors recently that meetings would continue through Level 5. He said legislation has been passed to facilitate virtual meetings.