A Causeway Coast & Glens Council meeting that ran into the early hours of Wednesdayhas led to calls for meetings to be streamlined, writes Sheena Jackson.
Tuesday’s monthly meeting started at 7.00 pm and finished at 1.00 am. During the meeting members heard presentations from the Housing Executive and from deaf organisation Hands That Talk. It was close to 9.00 pm before councillors began discussing official business.
Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey said: “I think it’s time Standing Orders need to be looked at if a meeting is going on for this length of time and, when you look at what took place on Tuesday night any business produced was produced by council officials and not councillors. There are too many councillors who like to hear themselves talk. It’s got beyond a joke. Presentations are important, but if we’re going to have more than one on a night they should either be restricted time-wise or held on a separate night.”
Ulster Unionist Colr. Aaron Callan sits on the sub committee for Standing Orders. He said the issue is being reviewed.
“We’re in the process of bringing forward propsals to hopefully to make the meetings more streamlined. Tuesday’s presentations were important, and we got some great information from them, so it would be disappointing to lose out on that,” said Colr. Callan. “I think if we have two or three presentations on one night we do need a seperate night because we spent two hours on presentations, and that’s why the meeting lasted for so long. However, when it gets to 1am in the morning people are getting tired and they’re not able to do the business the way they would if it was 9pm. It’s time for a review, and one of the things we are looking at is a maximum time length for meetings. It’s important councillors have their say, and we have proper debate. That’s what the council chamber is there for.”