Press will not be banned from Strabane Council Committee meetings

Strabane District Council has confirmed that it is not proposing to close committee meetings to the public and the press.

In a letter to the local branch of the National Union of Journalists, the council's interim chief executive says while the possibility was raised during the initial stages of an internal discussion among officials, it was not progressed, and never presented to members as a recommendation.

Last month, the Derry and North West Ireland branch of the NUJ wrote to Strabane District Council requesting a deputation to respond to the suggestion that committee meetings be closed.

However, in a response this week, the council's interim Chief Executive Danny Mc Sorley confirmed that the idea was off the table, and there would be no need for a deputation.

In his letter, he says as part of an internal discussion, a proposal was developed by officers which was released before it was fully considered as an option. He added this option was not presented to Council, nor was it considered at Committee.

He adds the public and the press remain welcome, as they have always been, to attend committees of Strabane District Council.

Branch Secretary Anton Mc Cabe is welcoming the clarification, describing the shelving of the proposal as a victory for media freedom, which is constantly under attack.