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Council going ‘virtual’ during pandemic

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council adapting to the times.

Council going ‘virtual’ during pandemic

A local council were able to avail of technology to recommence their monthly meetings last week as they held their first ever virtual council meeting.

Councillors on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council were asked to attend the meeting using video conferencing software after the cancellation of meetings during April and March.

Cllr Kathleen McGurk said it was important that the council were in a position to adapt to the circumstances of the pandemic.

She said: “It is vital that democratic accountability and protection for ratepayers continues during the pandemic.

“This is a crucial period for our ratepayers, families, businesses, employees and they will be depending on council to continue to provide service delivery and assist our community to get through this crisis.

“Council meetings are a vital part of that and I would expect them and other meetings to be held online now for the foreseeable future.”

While there were some minor technical issues, the meeting mostly passed off successfully and there is hope that the public and press will be able to attend future meetings.

Cllr McGurk said: “I would hope that this will ensure future meetings will be even more open and transparent.

“This may even encourage greater access with members of the public who would never normally have attended a council meeting able to view meetings online from the comfort of their home.

“This can only be a good thing for democracy and allow the public a greater insight into the workings of decision-making bodies.

“Tuesday’s online meeting of council is proof that we can adapt to work around some of the problems presented by coronavirus.

“This crisis has pushed all sections of society to find technological solutions to the way we work and I firmly believe that the lessons learned from this will have a long term impact on how we continue to work after the pandemic has passed.”

Details of future meetings to be held remotely will be published on the council’s website.

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