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37 2001



Meetings and Proceedings of Local Authorities

Application (Part 6).

44. —(1) This Part and Schedule 10 apply and have effect in relation to the meetings and proceedings of local authorities and to connected matters.

(2) Meetings of a local authority or a joint body may be held in Irish or in English or in both languages.

(3) In respect of meetings and proceedings of joint bodies, the Minister may by regulations under this subsection—

(a) make provisions corresponding to those provided for local authorities under this Part and Schedule 10,

(b) apply this Part or Schedule 10, with any necessary modification or adaptation,

and any such provisions apply and have effect in relation to such meetings and proceedings.

(4) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), any provision provided for by or under statute relating to meetings and proceedings of a joint body to which that paragraph relates, and in force immediately before the commencement of this provision, continues in operation until it ceases to have effect under paragraph (b).

(b) On the commencement of regulations under subsection (3), the matters with respect to which the regulations were made are governed by those regulations, and any previous provisions (whether made by or under statute) as may be specified in those regulations relating to those matters cease to have effect as respects the body mentioned in the regulations to such extent as may be so specified.

Attendance of public and media at meetings.

45. —(1) In this section—

“media” includes accredited representatives of local and national press, local and national radio and local and national television;

“members of the public” means any person who is not attending the meeting at the request of the local authority.

(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (5), members of the public and representatives of the media are entitled to be present at a meeting of a local authority.

(3) Where a local authority is of the opinion that the absence of members of the public and representatives of the media from the whole or any part of a particular meeting is desirable because—

(a) of the special nature of the meeting, or of an item of business to be, or about to be, considered at the meeting, or

(b) for other special reasons,

the authority may by resolution decide to meet in committee for the whole or a part of the meeting concerned, where the authority considers that such action is not contrary to the overall public interest.

(4) (a) It is necessary for the passing of a resolution under subsection (3) that at least one-half of the total number of members of the local authority concerned vote in favour of the resolution.

(b) A resolution under subsection (3) shall indicate in a general way the reasons for the resolution and those reasons shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

(5) A local authority may, by standing orders, regulate the right of members of the public and representatives of the media to be present at meetings and, in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, may—

(a) taking account of available space, limit the number of persons to be admitted,

(b) make rules governing the conduct of persons present at meetings,

(c) provide for the removal of members of the public who interrupt the proceedings or who otherwise misconduct themselves, or

(d) make rules in relation to the taking of photographs or the use of any means for recording or relaying the proceedings as they take place or at a later stage.

(6) Nothing in subsection (5), other than paragraph (a), shall be read so as to enable a local authority to limit the attendance of representatives of the media, and paragraph (a) shall not be read as enabling a local authority to prohibit the attendance of such representatives.

Meetings administrator.

46. —The manager shall from time to time as may be necessary assign the duties of meetings administration to an employee (referred to in this Act as a “meetings administrator”) of a local authority.

Effective discharge of business.

47. —A local authority shall seek to secure as regards the establishment of committees under Part 7 and as regards meetings of the authority and its committees, that they are organised and operate so as to promote effectiveness and efficiency in the discharge of business.