Aontú Cllr. for Meath, Emer Tóibín has criticised the planned online/remote sitting of Meath County Council to vote on the Meath County Development Plan resuming Monday 11th January and the detrimental impact this will have on the work and output of elected councillors in their drive to product the best county plan for the people of Meath over the course of the next 6 years.
Cllr Emer Tóibín:
“Covid-19 restrictions have disrupted and hindered every sector of our society. Our county councils and local authorities are no different. However, the latest proposal to host remote sittings only of Meath County Council is a step too far and will only serve to undermine councillors’ ability to produce as good a county-wide development plan as possible. How can it be expected that 40 councillors, the Council Executive and countless support staff engage in very lengthy planning sessions, review hundreds of motions, and properly debate issues and proposed planning via Zoom? The likely problematic running of these meetings due to the sizeable number of contributors is a recipe for confusion, delay, missed opportunities and substandard output. It is an affront to the constituents in this county that the Executive is overseeing and sanctioning the limitations of this essential process through remote sessions.
“The Meath County Development Plan and its salient initiatives and issues are coming before us over the coming weeks and they deserve our fullest attention. The remote proposal simply does not recognise and deal with the intricacies and challenges of the work involved in the Meath County Development Plan. Over 2500 submissions came in from the public. The public obviously feels this process is very important such has been their very high level of engagement. And we do too. But we cannot do justice to this document in this way. I am calling for the remote sitting proposal to be deferred and instead for in-person sittings to be held when the current restrictions are lifted. We are all committed to getting this Development Plan ratified and implemented. When conditions allow, let’s resume our work in person and give this extremely important plan the time and deliberation it needs so that the best interests of Meath people are served. Councillors get one opportunity every 6 years to make a real impact on planning policy in this county on behalf of their constituents. To deny the Councillors the proper forum to discuss and vote on this plan is also to offer no less than a veto to the people of Meath in terms of their objectives and needs for their county.