independent

Saturday 20 September 2014

'Out of date town website is an embarrassment'

BILL BROWNE

Published 04/07/2013 | 05:26

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THE official Fermoy Town Council website has been branded an "embarrassment" by the new town mayor after it emerged that sections of the site have not been updated since 2009.

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In the current projects section of the website the last entry is from December 2009 and relates to the Fermoy North Drainage Scheme - a project that was completed in 2011.

The last council meeting recorded on the website also dates back to December 2009, while there is not a single entry under the council agendas section.

The contacts section lists Tom Stritch as the town manager and Ray Owens as town clerk. This despite the fact that Katherine Walshe took over as town manager in 2011 and Pauline Moriarty as town clerk in February 2012.

And there is no mention at all on the website of Fine Gael's Cllr Noel Barnes who was co-opted onto the council in March 2012 following the death of the late Aileen Pyne.

"Frankly, it's embarrassing that there is no reference to Cllr Barnes on the website almost 18 months after he took his seat on the council. It's also hard to understand why the contact details of management have not yet been updated after all this time," said Cllr Corcoran.

She pointed out that the issue had been repeatedly raised by her and other councillors, most notably on one particular occasion when Cllr Corcoran controversially suggested that the council should employ a local school child to maintain the website.

"That suggestion did not go down well with some of my colleagues but it did make a point about how relatively easy it would be to do," said Cllr Corcoran.

"We are supposed to be an open and transparent body. Surely, that cannot be possible when people are unable to find out what we are doing when they visit our website," said Cllr Corcoran.

She said she intends to raise the issue with Ms Moriarty to ensure that the website is maintained and upgraded on a regular basis.

"To be perfectly honest I have not raised the subject in a while because nobody seemed interested in taking responsibility for the site. Now that I am mayor I might be able to do something about it," said Cllr Corcoran.

Ms Moriarty agreed the website had been neglected adding that a lack of resources had hindered plans to revamp it. However, she did say that was set to change.

"I have been working closely with a person who has volunteered to upgrade the site for us and expect to be in a position to launch that within a matter of weeks," she said.

"Staff will be trained in its upkeep and the site will be updated on a regular basis. In addition, it will also have a facility that will allow members of the public to download application forms and other documents," added Ms Moriarty.

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