Kilkenny councillors set to reverse media ban for SPC meetings

It follows concerns over the exclusion move last month

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

COUNTY HALL

County Hall on John Street

Members of Kilkenny County Council look set to reverse a move to exclude members of the media and public from Strategic Policy Committee (SPCs).

At yesterday's council meeting, Fianna Fail whip Cllr Andrew McGuinness said the party's councillors would be bringing forward a Notice of Motion at the next monthly meeting to re-amend Standing Orders so the public and media can attend.

He said decision had been made at a jam-packed last meeting, the first of the new five-year term, when councillors "were all very much focused on the order of the day".

Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh said the members had a long discussion on it since. She asked that in future, councillors be given notice of any change to policy of this sort, and not on the third Monday in May "a week before the local elections". She said in her opinion, it was not the time to discuss policy, and she looked forward to the discussion.

Speaking to the Kilkenny People this morning, Cllr McGuinness said it was fair to say none of the public representatives had wanted to exclude anyone or create a closed-door policy.

"On reflection it wasn't the right thing to do, and in the interests of transparency and fairness, we want to make sure people can have access," he said.

"It should also be remembered that there is a sensitive nature to some things discussed at SPCs, and to be fair to all there will always be an opportunity to discuss things in private."