N9S1PicA Sinn Féin Councillor has been criticised for live streaming a council meeting without seeking the permission of his fellow Councillors.

Cllr Declan Clune has apologised for live streaming proceedings at the July plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council on Facebook.

The issue came to light at the meeting when a motion in relation to live streaming was proposed by Cllr Mary Roche (Ind).

Her motioned called for Waterford City & County Council to broadcast council meetings live on the internet and investigate how best to achieve this, including the live streaming option on Facebook which she said could be achieved at minimal cost.

She explained that a similar motion had previously been adopted by Waterford City Council but, because of the amalgamation of the two local authorities in 2014, the motion would now need to be adopted by the plenary body.

Cllr Cha O’Neill (Ind) seconded the motion.

Querying the motion, Cllr M J O’Ryan (FF) asked about the current situation and if it is an offence to live stream at present.

He also said he wished to “add a caveat” in relation to motion.

He noted that Dáil proceedings are live streamed, but said politicians are “covered by Dáil privilege”.

He asked if such a provision would be extended to local councillors.

Director of Services Fergus Galvin explained that such a privilege does not extend to councillors.

He explained that live streaming on Facebook and the recording and subsequent broadcasting of proceedings would require prior approval of council.

Cllr Eddie Mulligan (FF) then pointed out that the current meeting had already been live streamed.

After Mayor of Waterford City & County Council Cllr Adam Wyse (FF) asked who had live streamed the meeting, Cllr Clune raised his hand and admitted that he had live steamed the meeting on Facebook but had subsequently deleted the material.

Cllr Lola O’Sullivan (FG) said this was “totally unacceptable”.

She said permission should have been sought before any live streaming took place.

She said Cllr Roche’s motion was “genuine” but called for greater consideration to be given to the motion before being approved by councillors.

Cllr Roche said she would prefer to “push ahead” with the motion in its current form.

Cllr John Hearne (SF) also spoke in support of the motion and “anything that brings people closer to the Council”.

“They pay our wages. We are civil servants so they should see what we’re at,” he said.

His party colleague Cllr Pat Fitzgerald agreed with these sentiments.

“We’re here in the public interest and acting on behalf of the public so they have a right to know what we say and do here,” he said.

While Cllr Mulligan said he supported the motion in general, he felt that more consideration was needed as there are many issues to resolve.

He proposed that the motion go back to the Corporate Policy Group (CPG) for further discussion.

This amendment to the motion was proposed by Cllr Mulligan and seconded by Cllr John Pratt (Lab), with the majority of Councillors voting in favour.