Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Public Accounts Committee
Financial Statements of the Higher Education Authority 2013
General Report No. 85 of the Comptroller and Auditor General: Accountability and Governance on the National College of Art and Design
Before we begin our examination of the Financial Statements of the Higher Education Authority 2013 and the Comptroller and Auditor General Report No. 85: Accountability and Governance on the National College of Art and Design, I remind members and witnesses to turn off their mobile telephones as the interference from them affects the sound quality and transmission of the meeting.
I advise witnesses that they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. If they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to do so, they will be 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 Member of either House, a person outside the House, or an official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
Members are reminded of the provisions within Standing Order 163 that the committee should refrain from inquiring into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government or a Minister of the Government, or the merits of the objectives of such policy or policies.
I welcome Mr. Seán Ó Foghlú, Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills and I ask him to introduce his officials.