Councillor of the week..

Over the summer, we’re planning to feature a local councillor who has shown particular initiative in they way they’ve put together their site at Councillor.info. It’s just one of several initiatives we’re planning to support and in some cases run, to better help bring us better politicians, better politics and better governance. BTW, thanks to The Insider column in the Belfast Telegraph today for the positive mention of both Slugger and the councillor.info site. Now, to business. This week, we’d like to highlight Domhnall Ó Cobhthaigh a Sinn Fein Councillor for Erne West Ward in Fermanagh District Council. In fact, I met Domhnall whilst chairing cross party panel discussion in Dooneen Community Education Centre in Fermanagh. Bright and articulate my guess is that he is one to watch in future.

His approach to the site is clear and straightforward. There’s plenty of signposting on the main page, not simply the main council site, but also to wikipedia pages for some of the towns and townlands that he represents. That’s a resource he might consider developing in future. The key to wikipedia is that it is a mutual resource.

Encouraging local people to provide a more detailed description of their home place and its local history could be a good civic project around which to build local interest and committment. There are other mutual resources like Flickr, that have been largely underused, mostly because there has not been sufficient sense of their potential, nor enough social entrepreneurship to get the ball rolling.

Domhnall has also used the polling facility to find out what his constituents think about issues of local concern. His news page is kept up regularly, and gives the public an idea about he’s been doing. And I especially like his links page, which allows him to point to an array of his party and party affiliated sites, but also softer more civil society oriented resources like Newshound, the Fair Trade Foundation and the ICTU.

Although the tool is deliberately basic and focused on giving councillors a window to display their representative role in, Domhnall has begun to tease some of its functionalities out. Hopefully, it’s just the beginning of a fruitful exploration of how the web can help connect public representatives with their wider constituency.

We’ll feature another councillor next week!

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  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    “Bright and articulate my guess is that he is one to watch in future.”

    And mentioned recently on Slugger.

    Although, having been co-opted onto the Council it does make his intro, “I am one of three Sinn Féin elected members..”, somewhat disingenuous..

  • truth

    This is a quote from the so called councillor of the week Domhnall ocobhthaigh
    “I am one of three Sinn Féin elected members for the electoral ward of Erne West – part of Fermanagh District Council”
    What a load of rubbish Domhnall ocobhthaigh is certainly not an elected councillor for Erne West has hasn’t received one vote from the people, he was Co Opted into that position, and against the wishes of elected reps and the local Republicans in Fermanagh. After hearing him on Talk Back last week and his ridiculous and pathetic statement calling on Bernice Swift to resign her seat after she resigned from the Sinn Fein party, most people in Fermanagh are asking the question WHO IS HE?
    ocobhthaigh states
    “My political priorities are to increase democratic accountability and transparency in local government” Firstly has he not given the people of ERNE WEST their democratic right to vote for a Cllr to represent them, instead they have had one imposed on them. ocobhthaigh my advice to you would be to put your talk of Democracy into action resign your Co Opted seat, stand in a democratic election and let the people decide. But in between that you could try to bring some democratic accountability and transparency into the Sinn Fein party as Bernice swift’s resignation from the party last week shows Sinn Fein possess none of the above

  • jimbobjoemacteddytomboyfromovertheresoiam jer

    yeah well down Pete and Truth. Two insightful comments there. I got the sense from Mick’s post that it was more about the councillor’s use of modern media rather than commentaries on the nature of co-opting. I am sure the councillor is wearing a hairshirt. But sure beat into the man.

  • smcgiff

    Pressures’ on IJP now.

    Will we now discover Slugger’s bias – How many councillors from each party will get nominated?
    Only joking – good idea!

  • slug

    A nice effort from the councillor.

    Another nice thing is that it is emphasised that he will serve everyone regardless of political affiliation – that’s really important in local politics.

    On the poll, two complaints, though.

    First off, I didn’t really understand his gripe with NITB.

    Second, I found it impossible to vote in his poll as it didn’t just say “yes” and “no” but instead it said “no – we shoudl try to change NITB over time” etc which meant that I had to say no for the specific reason he adds. I wanted to say “no” for other reasons, so I ended up not voting….!

    This localcouncillor website is a great idea and I hope it catches on.

  • slug

    I take that back about him not explaining his gripe about NITB, I see he has explained this well on one of the news pages.

    Full marks.

  • ulsterfan

    Site is not very interesting.
    It does not tell me anything about the person Re his background, history in politics and what makes him tick.

  • Harold Bishop

    Just had a look at the North Down councillors sites and I would say Brian Wilson’s is the best by a long way (though I see his wife Anne is trying to compete.) First came across his a month or 2 ago when he added the address to his North Down Newsletter and the site has been added to my favourites list since. I prefer his site for the following:

    1. His site has regular, up to date news which helped me with a number of problems such as my over 60’s Smartpass and more recently (today) the new bus routes along Brunswick Road.

    2. User friendly layout on front page (well spaced with not too much writing) and has images and links to relevant sites and external social networking sites. Also has quite an impressive profile page with profile video.

    3. Picture gallery of recent events i.e Last Friday’s, 4th July fireworks in Groomsport

    4. Was also happy to see one of my favoured charities ASSISI added to his “my politics” page.

    5. Also has a page to show his North Down Newsletters and leaflets and the site has a poll on the front page.

  • Rapunsel

    Yeadh it’s not bad and I see now that the reference to him being an ” elected” representative has been changed. I like the idea of councillors having websites but they must be prepared to respond to constituents issues raised on loine. Lost count myself of number of times I’ve e-mailed councillors and MLA’s and never received a reply

    I’d have met this guy a few times, intelligent and ambitious definitely and wee bit arrogant but that comes more with his youth. I think he might have been educated at either Oxford or Cambridge. He certainly spent some time working as a consultant for Peter Quinn Consulting( in fact he still does) see link

    http://www.peterquinn.com/people.html#

  • rumplestumplestilskin

    Rapunsel,

    [text removed – come back when you learn to ‘speak’ properly – mods]

  • stitanic

    Have to go with ol’ Jelly Belly (Harold Bishop) on this 1 Brian Wilson’s does seem a bit more professional than the rest I have seen.

    http://www.councillor.info/northdown/bwilson/0/Default.aspx

  • darth rumsfeld

    Hmmm
    Sinn fein councillor lobbying to keep open HM Custome and revenue office in Enniskillen???

    Shome mishtake shurely!