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Council live-streaming : DUP grouping say that Councillor Chris McCaw is ‘engaging in cheap political stunts’

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BT Coleraine

On Wednesday Alliance Causeway Councillor Chris McCaw expressed disappointment that the DUP and UUP councillors voted against a motion to live stream council meetings.

The motion read : ‘Openness and transparency are key values of this Council and therefore we will use video conferencing software to livestream to media and the public all Full Council and Committee Meetings, with the exception of “In Committee” items and deputations where presenters object. Furthermore, the videos will be recorded and placed on the Council website.’

The motion saw a vote of :

FOR – 3

In a statement responding to Councillor McCaw’s comments a DUP spokesperson said: “While those of us in the DUP group on Causeway Coast and Glens Council are seeking to provide mature leadership at a time of challenge for our Council, Councillor Chris McCaw of Alliance is engaging in cheap political stunts.

“He claims that his motion to livestream council meetings was aimed at restoring some confidence in the Council, but he conveniently plays down the costs of such a venture. The reality is that the costs of the installation and maintenance of the required technology would be exorbitant. Such expenditure would not represent value for money and, furthermore, it is simply not necessary. That is why we voted against it.

“Let’s look at the facts. As things stand, any member of the public can attend Council meetings, but numbers doing so have always been very low. We fully understand that in these Covid times, people will not physically attend, but anyone can register to watch proceedings online. In addition, minutes and audio are available on the Council website. The website contains details of many aspects of Council business and decisions.

“Councillor McCaw accepts that people are already able to view our meetings but says he wants this to continue after the pandemic. There is absolutely no reason why the current arrangements should not continue.

“In light of the current levels of openness, accessibility and transparency, we contend that there is simply no justification for Councillor McCaw’s proposal at any level. If he genuinely wants to restore some confidence in the Council, he is going about it in the wrong way. Meanwhile, the DUP group on the Council will continue to ensure that money is spent wisely and in the best interests of all the people of the Borough”.

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