Council reiterates ‘no photography’ policy after MLA takes pictures in chamber

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has issued a reminder the use of recording and photography equipment is not permitted during council meetings.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 4:00 pm
Trevor Clarke's Facebook post from Monday's meeting.

The warning comes after South Antrim DUP MLA Trevor Clarke uploaded two pictures to social media from Monday night’s annual general meeting.

The photographs show Mr Clarke’s party colleague Ald John Smyth being appointed first citizen for the incoming year.

Mr Clarke, who says he was unaware of the policy, captioned the post: “Pleased to be present tonight at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council where my long-time friend and colleague has been nominated as Mayor for the next year. Well done Ald Smyth.”

Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times after the meeting, the MLA said: “It was a proud moment for me to be there to see John being appointed Mayor. I didn’t notice any warnings advising about the council’s policy about not being able to take photos during the council meeting. I wouldn’t have taken any photos if I had have been aware.”

Commenting on the issue, a spokesperson for the local authority said: “The use of all recording and photography equipment is not permitted in the council chamber during council meetings unless permission is requested and agreed in advance. Permission was granted to no one and some notices were in place.

“We will ensure that this is communicated more clearly to the members of the public and the media in future.”