Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Western Development Commission: Discussion with Chairman Designate
I welcome Mr. Paddy McGuinness and thank him for his attendance to discuss his new role as chairperson designate of the Western Development Commission. I draw to his attention the fact that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the joint committee. However, if they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to do so, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against a person, persons or an entity either by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. I also wish to advise Mr. McGuinness that his opening statement and any other document submitted by him to the committee will be published on its website after the meeting. I remind members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. Before commencing the presentation, on behalf of members, I thank Mr. McGuinness for his perseverance and patience.