Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Belfast City Council meeting is viewed by 2,000 on internet

More than 2,000 people tuned in to watch Belfast City Council’s first ever televised meeting.

Figures released by the council show that 2,170 viewers watched the broadcast which was streamed live over the internet.

It is thought the high-profile row over Lord Mayor Niall O’Donnghaile’s refusal to present a 15-year-old Army cadet with her Duke of Edinburgh certificate had stimulated the public’s interest.

A spokeswoman for the City Council said: “The figure was higher than expected and we are pleased with the success of the project.”

Belfast, which is the largest local authority in Northern Ireland, is the first to stream its meetings live on webcam. The footage will be archived on the council website and can be accessed for two years.

Before proceedings got under way on Thursday night, Mayor O’Donnghaile told members: “Remember we are being streamed live so do not pick your nose.”

Last year members agreed in principle to the live streaming of meetings.

Members approved a recommendation to adopt a system similar to the one used in Dublin City Council which provides live streaming of high-quality video feed, providing viewers with on-screen information, including details of the meeting agenda and of individual speakers.

The system is to be leased from a specialist company which would be responsible for updating the equipment and providing maintenance when appropriate for around £18,000 a year.

Cameras have been running in the Assembly since it was restored in 2006. Plenary sessions and committee meetings can be viewed as they happen or at a later date.

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