At Limerick OpenCoffee, we've used lo-fi video streaming to record and share events in real time (above left). It's not as good as with a broadcaster but it's free information and live user-generated content (UGC). We fold a lot of meeting summaries into online fora and blog posts. These public watering holes are as important as State-funded telephone chat shows because they are business-focused and they help generate revenue for the taxman.
When Minister Eamon Ryan opens his public forum to allow people to outline their views about the role of the internet, blogging and online content on the broadcast and print media, the record needs to show that the licence fee is not supported connected communities. The public commentary should also document how mainstream media is crowd-sourcing important stories from tens of thousands of Irish citizens who are now connected at the touchscreen level. It's as though Irish newsrooms have funded their field research through a trusted online network. Those social networks help find stories and they also increase the reach of stories. 
Some of the same pundits make their rounds on all the RTE broadcasts, revealing a middle-age bubble that's slowly moving its way towards retirement. But right behind is a legion of online citizens whose expectation of subsidized information differs radically from the old order. They want to engage in conversation, not merely listen to news being read to them.  It will be interesting to see how this change in Ireland's information culture is documented in the upcoming public consultation and whether this changing information landscape is recognised and documented as a facet of Ireland in the early 21st century.
1. Niamh Connolly -- "Effect of online content on traditional media to be analysed" in the Sunday Business Post, 18 April 2010.
2. "UGC Michael Foley, December 4, 2006 on Irish Typepad.
4. "Engaging the Conversation" on InsideView.ie, January 22, 2008.
Photo of Conn O Muineachain running a live UStream connection during Limerick OpenCoffee.