Town council to embrace social networking sites
By Declan Magee
Letterkenny Town Council is looking to capitalise on the growing interest in social networking sites by using facilties such as Facebook.
Councillor Dessie Larkin wants the council to become more pro-active in its dealings with the public, and believes that Facebook would be a great way of improving communications.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of Letterkenny Town Council this week, he said: "We (councillors) are only here to serve. The more that we can serve and reflect what people want, the better it is for the town."
He feels that by promoting a Facebook page, the council can encourage people to make suggestions and ideas. While he recognised that there could be negatives, he said that they should consider things like a suggestion box.
Cllr. Gerry McMonagle agreed that there is a need to have more participation at grass roots level, but nevertheless urged caution in how they develop communications through social media sites like Facebook.
"Who decides what is a good or bad suggestion? We need to think it out," he said.
Cllr. Victor Fisher highlighted an example of a good suggestion made by a member of the public. A man approached him about the parking bays on the recently refurbished Upper Main Street, and felt that more cars could park in the space provided if there were markings rather than cars being parked with too much space behind and in front.
Cllr. Jimmy Harte recalled how Donegal County Council has posted weather updates and water supply updates on its website during the recent severe weather. He said that councillors could use this information and post it on their own Facebook pages.
Concluding the discussion, Cllr. Larkin acknowledged that getting the right sort of internet based solution "is a challenge" but at a time when the political system is not held in a very high regard it could help the Council and reflect what is happening in the town.
His motion calling for a facility to bring forward suggestions and observations to assist the council was passed.