The Green Party has demanded archival footage of Dáil debates be restored online after ten years of video footage of Oireachtas debates was removed from the Oireachtas website without notice.
The footage, which contained videos of all Dáil, Seanad and Oireachtas committee debates going back as far as 2006, allowed citizens and journalists to watch, download and share the videos on social media. It was removed without notice from the Oireachtas website some time since 27 July this year. Now all videos older than two years have been "decommissioned", according to the Oireachtas website, and must be requested in writing.
Speaking this afternoon, Oliver Moran, the Green Party spokesperson on political reform said: “It's a very serious matter and an appalling derogation on citizens' democratic rights. In future, requests for archival footage must be made in writing and the footage retrieved from an off-site archive. That's something that will take days or weeks and already social media users are complaining that their requests aren't being answered.”
Mr Moran, a software engineer, has said if the footage isn't restored that he will make a request all of the footage and invited people to get in touch with him who are interested in creating an independent searchable archive.
Mr Moran continued: “This isn't the first time that this has happened, it's just the latest turn of events. It's a reminder of when machine-readable feeds of Oireachtas debates were suddenly cut in 2012. That had the effect of crippling the kildarestreet.com website, which also makes it easy for citizens to search and share Dáil debates. It took six months for kildarestreet.com to recover at great costs to its maintainers. Sadly, now it will be up to citizens again to step in where the Oireachtas service has let us down.”