Local Government Act, 2001

Attendance of public and media at meetings.

45.—(1) In this section—

“media” includes accredited representatives of local and national press, local and national radio and local and national television;

“members of the public” means any person who is not attending the meeting at the request of the local authority.

(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (5), members of the public and representatives of the media are entitled to be present at a meeting of a local authority.

(3) Where a local authority is of the opinion that the absence of members of the public and representatives of the media from the whole or any part of a particular meeting is desirable because—

(a) of the special nature of the meeting, or of an item of business to be, or about to be, considered at the meeting, or

(b) for other special reasons,

the authority may by resolution decide to meet in committee for the whole or a part of the meeting concerned, where the authority considers that such action is not contrary to the overall public interest.

(4) (a) It is necessary for the passing of a resolution under subsection (3) that at least one-half of the total number of members of the local authority concerned vote in favour of the resolution.

(b) A resolution under subsection (3) shall indicate in a general way the reasons for the resolution and those reasons shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

(5) A local authority may, by standing orders, regulate the right of members of the public and representatives of the media to be present at meetings and, in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, may—

(a) taking account of available space, limit the number of persons to be admitted,

(b) make rules governing the conduct of persons present at meetings,

(c) provide for the removal of members of the public who interrupt the proceedings or who otherwise misconduct themselves, or

(d) make rules in relation to the taking of photographs or the use of any means for recording or relaying the proceedings as they take place or at a later stage.

(6) Nothing in subsection (5), other than paragraph (a), shall be read so as to enable a local authority to limit the attendance of representatives of the media, and paragraph (a) shall not be read as enabling a local authority to prohibit the attendance of such representatives.