10 December 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Transparency Report has no legal standing insofar as Council’s are audited by another agency called NOAC, nevertheless Green Party would like Cork City Council to have higher result.
The Green Party in Cork has urged Cork City Council to improve its record of transparency and accountability.
Cork City Council was ranked 18th out of 31 local authorities in Transparency International’s National Integrity Index 2019. Although Cork City Council did not fall in its overall score when compared to the same study in 2018, it did drop seven places in the ranking due to other local authorities passing it out.
Green Party Councillor, Oliver Moran, has written to city officials urging them to include achieving 100% on the survey as an objective in the city’s new Corporate Plan, which is currently being written.
Speaking today Councillor Moran said: “A lot of what the city fell down on is low hanging fruit, things like putting the Chief Executive’s diary online and publishing policies on whistle blower protection on the city council’s website. Others are in progress, like a policy for publishing council data online in an accessible way. That will allow everyone with a computer to drill down into data on the council’s operations.
“Some of the more meatier things,” the Green Party representative for Cork North Central continued, “they include making sure the council answers every contact from the public. The Chief Executive has taken a personal interest in the setting up of a new contact centre in City Hall, and that has the potential to revolutionise how people interact with city officials, if it succeeds across the organisation. But even ambitious objectives like that are quite realistic, and we should aim for a 100% bill of health in the next five years.”
Councillor Moran, who was elected to Cork City Council for the first time in May, highlighted the work he and his party colleagues have done since being elected: “As a party we’ve already made a difference, making sure that local area committees open to the public and media, and ensuring that there’s debate on every decision of the Council. It means that every decision of Council is now made in public.
“We will have a motion before Council in the new year to audio record meetings of Council,” Councillor Moran added. “These can be broadcast on local radio or shared online. All of this improves understanding and accountability in the work of Council, as well as making it all much more accessible.”
In the 2019 report, Cork City Council was tied with Cork County Council and Waterford City and County Council at 18th, below Limerick City and County Council (14th), Clare County Council (10th) and Tipperary County Council (10th). Kerry County Council was ranked last (joint 30th), while Fingal & South Dublin County Councils shared the top spot.