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Tech update South Dublin mayor defends planned €214,000 spend on Council chamber upgrade

Cllr Ed O’Brien said that the current functionality of the chamber is outdated

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Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr Ed O’Brien

Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr Ed O’Brien

Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr Ed O’Brien

A Fianna Fail mayor of a Dublin local authority has defended an estimated Council spend of up to €214,000 on the upgrade of a multi-media system for councillors and officials in the Council chamber.

Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr Ed O’Brien (FF) said that the planned spend "is justified".

The planned new ‘Delegate Conference and Audio-Visual System’ is to provide microphone discussion, electronic voting and automatic camera control for 40 councillors and 10 council officials.

The new system will allow the web-casting of meetings to allow members of the public view proceedings.

In tender documents, the Council has estimated that the spend will be between €125,000 and €214,000 on the technology upgrade over the duration of the five year service contract.

The equipment required includes electronic voting displays within the chamber and HD video feed of voting results for integration with web casting.

The tender also includes the requirement for conference control software for microphone control, electronic voting control, delegate database management, attendance recording, vote result reporting and archiving and automatic camera control

Cllr O’Brien stated: “I do believe the spend is justified on two fronts - firstly the council chamber is long overdue upgrade works.

He stated: “The current functionality of the chamber is outdated and in need of being brought up to date to ensure very basic things like being able to hear contributions made in the chamber.

Cllr O’Brien - who operates a legal practice in Lucan - added: “Secondly we need to bring ourselves in line with other local authorities by allowing for the broadcasting of meetings.

He said: “It is crucial for the transparency of local government that our meetings are as accessible as possible and upgrading the chamber to allow for web casting of meetings is a positive move in that sense.

The Lucan native said: “This is obviously more important given the restrictions introduced due to Covid which limit the opportunities for the public to attend meetings when they are held in person.

Cllr O’Brien stated: “The spend was agreed a number of years ago before the current Covid 19 restrictions started to impact local authority finances and as such is a sunk cost but the greater issue is the access to council business for the public and conducting that business in a transparent manner.”

The deadline for those wishing to tender is April 9th.

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