Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Belfast City Council's live online streaming nets 24 viewers

Encouraged: DUP's Gavin Robinson
Encouraged: DUP's Gavin Robinson

A low of just 24 people watched a meeting of Belfast City Council live online, it has emerged.

The council started streaming meetings live last September when just 26 people watched live.

The biggest live viewership was 160 for the November meeting until the dramatic events of December's meeting when loyalists infamously stormed Belfast City Hall brought in 3,536 viewers.

At that meeting the councillors voted to remove the Union flag from the front of City Hall on all but 21 statutory days.

This sparked fury among loyalists who had gathered at the back gates of the hall.

When the news of the decision filtered to the protesters outside, the mob managed to force their way through the metal gates.

Another 4,792 viewers logged on after the December meeting had finished to watch the archive footage of a visibly shocked then Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson call the meeting to a halt as loyalists ran amok in the back yard of the city hall.

The next meeting of the full council in January also attracted a high number of live viewers with 2,692 logging in to watch the fall out after a fraught month of flag protests.

But since then the numbers of live viewers have not broken four figures, with just 24 people watching the special meeting in July ahead of the act of remembrance for the Battle of the Somme.

In contrast, the number of views of meetings after they have happened is higher with almost 5,000 people viewing the December meeting after it had finished.

DUP councillor Gavin Robinson said he is encouraged by the number of people who watch the meetings online. "I have been surprised in the past by people telling me that they had seen this or that on the council webcast, and it shows there is a great interest in what the council is doing," he said.

Recent webcasts can be viewed at www.belfastcity.public-i.tv

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