Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade

Palestine and Israel: Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel

2:30 pm

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

We are meeting in public session with representatives of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, EAPPI. In the past, the committee has met the representatives and we have great respect for their work. That is why we are meeting them. We will hear the representatives' opening statement before having a questions and answers session with the members. Ms Jenny Derbyshire will introduce the programme, Mr. Patrick Costello will give the main presentation and Ms Hilary Minch will also speak. I also welcome Ms Jenn Byrne.
I remind members, witnesses and those in the Visitors Gallery to ensure their mobile telephones are switched off completely for the duration of the meeting, as they cause interference with the recording equipment, even in silent mode. I remind members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against any person or entity outside the Houses or an official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. 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. If they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to do so, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. Witnesses are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and are asked to respect the parliamentary practice that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.
It is a very appropriate week for the delegates to be here, given that the Dáil, in a Private Members' motion, is discussing the situation in Palestine and the need for the Parliament to recognise the State of Palestine. Last night, a number of committee members contributed to the debate and other members will contribute tonight. We would like to get an update on how the delegates believe we can move forward from here and we are delighted to have them here.

I invite Ms Jenny Derbyshire to commence the proceedings.


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