My day in the City Council, By Liam Quilmore, Transitional year,Drimnagh Castle
The idea of a Council meeting left me with a lot of questions. What was it going to be like? Would it be boring? Would it seem prepared, or would it seem like an impromptu meeting? Throughout the day, all these questions were answered to me, mainly thanks to all the kind people within the City Council, and the council meeting itself. This is an account, a diary entry, a whatchamacallit of my day within the City Council with Sophie Nicoullaud.
My day started with a well timed encounter with Sophie in front of the City Hall. As we had lunch in a local cafe, we discussed what the meeting was, what we were going to do throughout the day (It still was half one in the afternoon, 5 hours before the start of the meeting!), and Sophie answered any questions I had related to the council meeting, and other things related to the Council. Before the meeting, I still was a bit scared on how Sophie was going to be! Even after I had met her already a few weeks prior, I still didn’t know whether it was going to be all serious, but during the day, Sophie turned out to be a very kind and reassuring person, (She didn’t pay me to say this, it’s true!) and so throughout the day, the meeting turned from a very serious and co-ordinated experience, to a fresh, light hearted and flowing experience thanks to the many kind people within the Council.
During the day before the meeting, we went through many things. Sophie had written a letter to a Dublin City Council about attending a resident meeting on Part 8 plans, and she asked me if I could help with proofreading the letter, which turned out to be nearly flawless. She asked local TD’s and councillors to sign it, and once nearly all TD’s and Councillors agreed to sign it, she sent it on to the executive. Once this was finished, we went through the agenda of the Council Meeting, more specifically Section 13 of Part 2 of the agenda. It was quite interesting to see how DCC wanted to get rid of land, for example they wanted to give land to Lidl, which was right in front of some houses, and we spent a long time debating on this with fellow Councillor Neasa Hourigan. It was impressive how long we spent looking at the agenda, I thought it had only been 30 minutes, but it was already half four by the time we had finished. As the day went on, many things continued to happen. We met up with one of the housing groups which was going to be present at the residents meeting on the Part 8 project. I was introduced to the Lord Mayor by Sophie, given an impromptu tour of City Hall by Cllr.Michael Pidgeon, and also went to a local shop to get food with Michael. Everyone that I had met was very kind and passionate about being a Councillor, as I was about to see.
As all the Councillors gathered in the chamber, I was surprised at how clean and organized the chamber was. For some reason, I had expected a hall, with some chairs, and that was it. But this chamber rivalled small government chambers, which surprised me. As the meeting started, I was surprised as I was introduced to the Councillors by the Lord Mayor, which got some waves at me, particularly from Cllr Daithi Doolan, who lived quite close to me. He went up and greeted me, and during the meeting we had a selfie, and spoke about politics and the upcoming election. Throughout the meeting, I was expecting to be bored as the meeting went through the agenda, but I was surprised at how I listened to most of the meeting, which was very interesting, and at some points very comforting somehow. There were some topics which I had never heard of, such as the Liffey Cycle Route and the naming of the new hospital. Overall, as the meeting ended, I was left with a feeling of interest and excitement. I had been interested in Politics for a long time, and finally I was getting involved within it.