With Big Brother in its ninth season and TV execs constantly
scrambling to think of newer, and more profitable ideas for reality TV
(and coming up with the opposite), it may be a surprise to you that
Galway City Council's meetings could soon be broadcast live online.
The proposal, made by Green Councillor Niall O'Brolcháin, would
involve a live webcast of council meetings and a searchable archive.
The proposal was partly aimed at publicly identifying the council's
But it's not just Cllr O'Brolcháin who favours this idea. The
sessions of the Oireachtas are also to be televised.
The question is, do we really want to see it?
'Oireachtas TV' has been undergoing a trial period, for those
participating in the Digital Terrestrial Television trial in Dublin.
It's set to become a reality with the enactment of a new Broadcasting
Bill and RTE's changeover to digital service, which has a deadline of
However, even the most slavish of political sleeveens has their doubts
about this one. Oireachtas Report, the current output of Dáil and
Seanad Eireann, is less than riveting viewing. For a political junkie,
it can have its golden moments, but with these often reproduced on
news broadcasts, it's just not necessary to wait up until the wee
hours for the drama that is our legislature.
While propping your eyes open with sticks is one way of staying awake
before (and during) the show, poking your eyes with sticks can be
preferable to watching a bored politician reading a prepared speech
like a child reciting a poem in a language he doesn't understand.
Before the Lisbon Referendum, there was an undercurrent of what you
might call 'active apathy'. Voters made it clear that they elect
politicians to do things for them, and they should get on with it
without bothering the rest of us.
A lot of people would call that an irresponsible attitude to society.
And they're probably right. But it's very common.
Perhaps Oireachtas TV and Council Chat will provide us with a new
window into politics and legislation. Or perhaps, as with Big Brother
9, most people will switch over to the Big Big Movie for something more adult.
Either way, the move presents an opportunity for public
representatives. But, like Big Brother, Eviction Day is always
approaching – and without subjective editing, for once the truth will