The EPA have outsourced a company called MCI as the Audio Visual partner for the Oral Hearing. Today they attempted to conduct connection test calls with persons lined up to participate at next weeks planned Oral Hearing.
The results of the test were not at all satisfactory, many couldn’t connect; and some of the EPA people were also unable to connect. It also became clear that the EPA people the Director of Production & Experience Design at MCI Ireland hadn’t really considered with any degree of care the way in which questioning (normal at an oral hearing) would be conducted; and the EPA representative was quite reluctant to answer some questions put to him.
The EPA representative was extremely defensive about the organisation for which he works; he looked uneasy, he would not answer questions, and neither of the individuals seem to have collaborated in any effective way. We are of the opinion that the failure of the test call was simply due to a mixture of incompetence, disorganisation, lack of communication between people in the EPA (among themselves and with MCI Ireland), and the result of being in a big “organisation” with no clear lines of responsibility, and no direction from upper levels.
Not only is the technology limiting, not only are members of the public likely to be excluded, our experience today shows that this is a pretense at public consultation, a box-ticking excercise by an incompetent EPA. This sham hearing should be cancelled until the conditions exist that all EPA to run a competent process. That is, when we can run a live event post-Covid.
The main problem with the platform is that we won’t be able to ask questions on Wednesday! This is not a hearing but parallel monologues!
Why did the EPA simply not operate the hearing themselves on one of the many widely used platforms from Microsoft, Google, WebEx, Citrix, Zoom. Instead these people opt for an obscure technology that they can’t make work??