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Saturday 11 July 2015

Following Fingal County Council Business

Fingal County Council has the best council meeting information system in the country using Public-i for video streaming and archiving and ModernGov for meeting minutes and CivIQ for Consultation submissions, Fixyourstreet for issue reporting, aswell as their internally developed systems, but its still difficult to follow whats happening if anything is happening. I have watched my local area meetings but they are incredibly boring you'd have to pay me to listen to it. (Which is where paid councillors come in :)) I occasionally watch the main council meeting but usually after in the archive so I can skip past the party political sniping and read the full accompanying Council replies and documentation, but of course the minutes don't appear till approved at the next council, so getting prior notice of particular issue coming up at a meeting would be very useful if you are not in the habit of reading the full agenda.

Data protection? versus usefullness.

Subscribing to email alerts of the agenda's before meeting and minutes after is very useful, but I'll admit not to always reading them particularily Local Area meetings. After using Kildarestreet.com I can see how useful email keyword alerts are to following Oireachtas debates. Getting prior notice on particular issues of interest is key. Turning on the email alerts system described below would be very useful. I was told it wasn't turned on because of "data protection". I tried to use a google alert to search for keywords inside meetings.fingal.ie but their site is set up to block search indexing. Perhaps the planning alerts were turned off for data protections reason too, although they remove the names from them. Update: Planning alerts sent 23rd of July 2015.

How to follow Fingal County Council
Subscribe to Meeting Documents Whats New RSS/IFTTT>Email
Subscribe to Video Archive RSS/IFTTT>Email
Subscribe to Fingal Alerts
Subscribe to FixYourStreet watch area.
Subscribe to Social media
Subscribe to Developent plan news RSS/IFTTT>Email
Subscribe to Keyword search tools

Council Meetings

Council Meetings

Council Meetings and Minutes

Watch Council Meetings Online

mod.gov Council Meetings/Minutes App

Council Meetings and Minutes and Agendas
Council Meetings and Minutes
Agenda are put up a week before meeetings and you have to wait a month to get minutess agreed at next council meeting. (motion deadline is how many days? emergency motion 3 days notice?)

FCC moderngov minutes system has a What's new RSS feed you can subscribe to.

I like to use a connection web-tool If This Then That to turn RSS feeds into emails to yourself.
IFTTT Recipe: Email Me Fingal County Council New Documents connects feed to email
Create an Account at IFTTT.com Set your Email. I also use it to subscribe via rss to email to my local poltician's websites RSS news feeds, if they don't have their own e-newsletter and if they don't have RSS on their web page I use page2rss.com to create a RSS to use in IFTTT.

Question History
A new element to meeting docs is the Question History with Details/History/Meetings Example
Contact details.
Connects question to video.
Not sure entirely sure eveything it does, bar being method to connect the minutes to the video, (connecting directly to the question would be great). There is nothing on moderngov website about it. more document for public users would be good.

Keyword Search Alerts

Use Talkwalker alerts or google alerts to monitor for specific keywords of your interest on Fingal County issues. Google Alerts allows filtering by Country. Keyowrd search within Fingal Council Meetings would also be good.

The Moderngov provides an Mysociety.org theyworkforyou meeting record keyword search email alert system, but Fingal removed the link to it because "data protection". ?

Which is why they don't search indexing?

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council manages to provide the service. You can create an account and see how it works there. The keyword search email update is limited to ten searches.

Fingal Council meetings Keyword Subscription

Calendar of meetings

Download meeting dates or papers
Download meeting dates
Synchronise with Google calendar Get iCal link procues Fingal Counnty Council Calendar .ics file

Im not sure this is working. Not showing many meetings. Doesn't list every possible committee including main council,Economic, Development and Enterprise SPC and Housing SPC. Does it only output meetings that week?


possibly fixed by robots.txt change
# Disallow all webbot searching BUT allow Google access to mgRss for calendar sync.
User-agent: *
DisAllow: /

User-agent: Googlebot
DisAllow: /
Allow: /mgRss.aspx

It seems to be 'working' now, in that it shows a meeting in google calendar, but only one!?

Click the +googlecalendar button.
Or in Google Calendar > Other Calenders > Add by URL > Add Calendar.

Meeting dates in ical format

Automatically download committee papers ? Don't think I've ever seen anything anything in this.


The monthly County Council meetings take place in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Swords at 3.45pm on the second Monday of every month.

Area Committees
The focus of the three Area Committees is on local delivery of services to the respective area. Local Area Committee Meetings are convened once a month. Each Area Committee is split into Services (A) Operations which includes road sweeping & maintenance, traffic related issues, cleansing, litter, cemeteries, beaches, harbours, playgrounds, grass cutting, street tree maintenance and Services (B) Strategic & General which covers all matters pertaining to the Local Area not included in Services (A) Operational including water services, housing, community, libraries, taking-in-charge, building control, enforcement, new works, disposals, property, parks & heritage, planning & local area plans etc.

Operations and Procedures Committee (O&P)
On procedure for meetings and issue relation to councillors. These meetings are not held in public, reports from the meeting are including in the main councl minutes.

Corporate Policy Group
Corporate Policy Groups And Strategic Policy Committees Guidelines for establishment and operation
Party/Group representative leaders meeting with Council. This is said to be where the real decisions happen before main council meetings.

Groups, Councillors, Independent councillors in partiuclar, can form ad hoc groups to propose people for positions.
The provisions of Paragraph 18 of Schedule 10 to the Local Government Act 2001 regarding grouping apply to the appointment of these Members.

Strategic Policy Committees
Arts, Culture, Heritage and Community Strategic Policy Committee
Economic, Development and Enterprise Strategic Policy Committee.
Housing Strategic Policy Committee
Planning and Strategic Infrastructure Policy Committee
Transportation Strategic Policy Committee
Water and Environmental Services Strategic Policy Committee

Library It lists
Fingal Development Plan 2017-2023
Standing Orders [8th July 2013 ]
Strategic Policy Committees

Fingal Public Participation Network/Fingal Community Network and Local Community Development Committee Blogpost. on PPN/FCN/LCDC

Your Councillors

Watch Council Meetings Online

Fingal County Council have been using "Public-i webcasting system for a number of years, its quite good that enables you to skip straight to the connected Question or Motion.

You can link to and share a particular question or motion with a time code link, hover over the speaker/time on this links wait a few seconds it always load up at the start of the video until it jumps to the exact point). (Although they could clean it up and remove repetitive info).

The main problem with it until recently was that you could not quite catch who voted what way, they fixed this by using an electronic voting system and showing it on screen.

It now also includes screen captured documents (using Clickshare) for maps etc slightly hit and miss, slides are archived with the video so you can see them under the video playback. Slides example. 2016 They change slides to resources, linking to documents but despite them not beign perfect I liked slides to visually see votes etc.

Video streaming HD according to FCC.

The video archive only goes back so far due to storage contraints. They say they'll but back up a particular video if you request it, I did, but never received notice it was put back up.

There was period in 2014/2015 when the meeting room was being renovated for the larger number of Councillors (28? to 40) when the meeting were held in Malahide Castle, the streaming, sound and camera work didn't work as well then but its got even better in the council chamber since they moved back.

Video RSS feed

IFTTT Recipe: Email Me Fingal County Council Webcasts connects feed to email

Number of viewers of webcast 2009 in annual report?

You can login into the Public-I citizenscape system. They had a user network diagram system, Im not sure what it did, connects people interested in the council?, it recorded what committees videos you shared, it was half implemented FCC wasn't using the full Public-I Connectsocial citizen engagement elements of their products, so they got rid of it.

connect social network query tweets

Fingal Council meeting video embed Not sure this is working anymore.

Fingal Alerts

A email and sms, App (and landline) alert service for Fingal County for Water, Planning, Community and Severe Weather. You can set both a Home location and your work location to receive alerts nearby. A version of Map Alerter by Pin Point Alerts

Fingal Alerts - Latest Alerts
It started off with just water alerts but others have been added now.

Notice on front page of the Fingal County Council website in June/July 2015
Fingal Alerts - Water, Planning, Community and Severe Weather updates
I've received 8 Severe Weather alerts and 4 Water Alerts emails since in 6 months since Jan 2014.

Planning Application Alerts
This is a weekly summary of any planning applications (new or updated) within 2km of your home.
They began in May 2015 for four weeks but I never got an email despite measuring that my location was within 2km of a new planning applications in two of the weekly alerts. I had "Automatically subscribe me to new categories as they become available" checked to Yes. Im also signed up to Mapalerter.com which is the same backend as but I'm using the same phone number but other different details, I did not have "Planning Applications in your area, Local Area Plan updates" checked on Mapalerter.com, is this why I did not receive emails? Conflict between the two frontends? (or did it stop for Data Protection issues also?). There an issue with not sharing the name of the applicant but they havn't including that in the alerts which link back to the full details on the FCC planning website. Update: Planning Alerts produced 23/07/2015 and I got an email.

but none since? (last checked 10/07/2015). A month gap...?
but none since? (last checked 12/10/2015). A month gap...?

Water alert
Weather alert
Road Alert

Fingal Alerts Archive

Mapalerter also integrates into fixyourstreet.ie issue reporting site, although the map interface does not seem to be working, its appears blank.

Social Media

Twitter Lists
Official Fingal County Council related twitter accounts.
Fingal Councillors on twitter.
@countyfingal fingal county things.

I use twitterfeed.com and Council feeds to create a twiiter account the publish Council updates and notices of agendas/meetings.

@Countyfingal Sources
Video RSS
Meetings What's New RSS My Twitterfeed occasionally missing some things on this, I tried to fix it.
Fingal News Blog page2rss?
public-consultations page2rss
Fingal Website
fingal Planning
fingal Part 8 Planning
fingal Doc library
Fingal Press Releases
Fingal Consult
Fingal Development


I tried to create a twitter list post aggregator Fingal County paper.li but couldn't filter out the irrelvant stuff enough to advocate using it.

Its possible that there is lots going on on Facebook, I don't like to 'like' councillors. For some reason it gives more an impression of support to have to like or request to follow.

Howth Malahide Info list


Voting and Elections
List of Candidates 2014 Notice of Poll.
National Lcoal Government Election data Did a good job to get counts data on line quickly, But not being maintained.
data.fingal.ie/elections/ I think this was made for TV screens in the count centre it didn't show the complete count on one page which was frustrating for people watching at home.

PRSTV Election Counts Visualisation
Howth Malahide Local Elections expenses Election expenses not online.

Councillors allowances expenses conferences Information up on regualr basis.

Fingal County Councillors Pay and Expenses Details blogpost but can anyone figure out that formula?

Fingal Councillors vote to they're delcaration of Interests online. Part 15 declarations 2014

Fingal Budget My attempt to understand it.
Fingal budgets- expenditure and financial statements
Purchase Orders over 20K Would be better if they were in csv not pdf. Has name of comapnies but not much information on what was actually bought.

Development Plans, Studies and Consultations

Fingal County Council Development Plans, Studies and Consultations

Fingal County Council’s online consultation portal
CivIQ Consultation submission and observation system.
The online consutlation portal is quite complex allow you to outline areas on maps as seen in the OCP Functional Requirements document. Example
The submissions and observation can be viewed by theme.
You can register to make submissions on consutlations, it would be good if once registered you could agree to be emailed about new consultations.
FCC posted a booklet on the Fingal Development Plan to every resident with a summary of about 10 themes with questions to consider, see timeline on page 14.
Most consultations are meaningless to most people, still at stage of big long documents, that Im sure take a lot of effort to write, that make your eyes glaze over and few ever reads. Consultation portals and sumamry documentation have been developed to improve things recently but its still a drudge.
Write more about this.

Subscribe to pages2rss to email via ifttt of Development Plan News
IFTTT Recipe: Fingal Development Plan connects feed to email

Development Plan
Development plan process is impossible to follow, the maps and consutlation has improved a lot in recent years but the main Development Plan is half arsed and often out of date. There much to go through and little explained. Write more about this.

Councillor External Positions and Committee Posts

Fingal County Council Positions Councillors sitting on other committees and boards, about 50 different orgs and counting.
Dublin area councillors statutory bodies


You can report on Graffiti, Road or path defects, Street Lighting, Leaks and Drainage, Litter and Illegal Dumping, Tree and Grass Maintenance and see those report on a map.

Fix Your Street Is an online issue reporting and mapping and response system. You can view reported issues on a map and set a watch area to get email alerts about issues nearby.

Unfortunately Local Government chose to use Ushahidi rather then then Mysociety's fixmystreet which is the exemplar product, both are open source. Ushahidi is more for wide area reporting and so its bit more difficult to use then FixMyStreet's purpose built council reporting sytem. John Handelaar/MyGov has implemented the proper fixmystreet application which feeds into fixyourstreet You subscribe to reports by area down to the Local Electoral Area. There is also seeclickfix and fixmyarea.com that also feeds in to fixyourstreet.

The fix your street effect? Will it improve things?

Cllr Tom kelleher said at the 8th July 2012 meeting that if the system was successful it could leave very little to do in the area committee meetings.

Unfortunately there are fixyourstreet.ie errors SDCC refuses to fix If SDCC who address these errors it would be more useful.

You can set a watch area to get alerts about issues nearby but the emails you get still have no link back to the report on the website, it would be much more useful if they did but they refuse to fix it, no matter how many times I asked.

Fingal Open Data

Fingal is one of the best on this, although it still a struggle to achieve potential.
Need to write more about this.


Planning and Buildings

Planning Search Search by map /a>
Search map lists

They do put out Weekly Planning Lists
They are now planning alerts, if they work, as above.

MyPP.ie Was set up to capture all the planning data around the country and give you email alerts for applications nearby, they spent along time getting the Councils to give them the information getting most, but it doesn't work, they've abandoned it in favour of BuildingEye to go after the American market. Why can they money on the US and not here?

building eye presentation. 4 hours 15 minutes in.

If any more planning alerts sytem are made, being able to recevie very close residential plans, and further government or commerical plans by size would be useful.

Councillor Attendance Record

Attendance page for each Meeting by ID eg., Meeting Attendance ID 4252 for ounty Council Monday, 8th June, 2015.

Councillor Meeting Attendance eg,
Meeting attendance of Councillor Jimmy Guerin, by Councillor ID listed here Eg Councillor Jimmy guerin UID 681

Use the links in this spreadsheet to view stats from start of this term.

Nobody goes below 90% attendance, this includes monthly and area meetings, it recoeds meeting where notice/apology has been recieved for non-attendance and also where an apology wasn't received, Im sure people have their reasons for not attending,.. work, attending other council business, illness, family etc, not a reason not to show the record.

Attendance Summary
Access Blocked You are not allowed to view this page

Open Government Toolkit

TASC was commmissioned by the government to research on open government toolkit.
Local Government
Doesn't really convey the difficulty in following (local )goverment.


Local Government & Elected Members Booklet - Part 1
Local Government & Elected Members Booklet - Part 2
Local Government & Elected Members Booklet - Part 3

Write more about

fingal budget
open data

Councillor Contact Management System.
Councillors Representations An online system building on the work of South Dublin and Cork City Councils was implemented enabling Councillors to make representations and track their progress.

Via the Fingal County Council Annual Report would like to know more about this.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Council Online Services