County council perplexed by decision ordering them to release video and audio recordings of controversial planning meetings

A county council said there was an “inherent inconsistency” in having to make available video and audio recordings of development plan meetings claiming the Data Protection Commission had advised them not to release them.

Meath County Council said a decision made by the Information Commissioner that they must release the recordings was something they were “still trying to rationalise” in internal emails.

Officials said it was difficult to understand how “two arms of the state [can] provide very different advice on the same records”.

In an email to the Department of Public Expenditure, a local authority official said: “It is very difficult for a public body, such as this council, to navigate these choppy waters.”

Meath County Council were told late last year they had to release the recordings of the development plan meetings, which had caused considerable controversy among councillors.

The council had originally said release of the tapes would involve the disclosure of personal information, which would be in breach of GDPR, and had proposed deleting them.

However, the Information Commissioner disagreed and ordered their release in a decision with far-reaching implications for other local authorities and public bodies.

The case had originally been taken by FP Logue Solicitors on behalf of a number of councillors in co Meath.