Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection
Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board: Discussion with Chairman Designate
I welcome the chairman designate, Mr. David J. O'Callaghan. The Government has noted the intention of the Minister for Education and Skills to nominate a new chair to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board. The purpose of the board is to support the needs of the former residents of residential institutions, as endorsed in a unanimous motion of Dáil Éireann in the aftermath of the publication in 2009 of the Ryan report. The person nominated is Mr. David J. O'Callaghan, former Secretary General of the Department of Defence and current chair of the Irish Red Cross. His appointment is subject to consideration by this committee. This is set out in the policy brief prepared by the clerk and circulated to members.
I welcome Mr. O'Callaghan. Before he makes his presentation I wish to inform him 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 committee. If the witness is directed by the committee to cease giving evidence in respect of a particular matter and he continues to so do, he will be entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of his evidence. Mr. O'Callaghan is directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and he is asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, he should not criticise nor make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. The statement Mr. O'Callaghan submitted in advance will be published on the committee's website today. Members are reminded of the long-standing ruling of the Chair to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the House or an official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
I have been informed that laptops and iPads are interfering with the broadcasting equipment and I ask members to turn them off, if possible.