Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children

General Scheme of Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015: Discussion (Resumed)

9:30 am

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I have received apologies from Deputies Ciara Conway and Robert Dowds, both of whom are attending a meeting of the Committee of Public Accounts. We also have apologies from Senator John Crown. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Senator and his wife, Orla, on the birth of their baby boy.

I welcome the Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar, Dr. Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, and Ms Geraldine Luddy, principal officer at the Department of Health, to our final session of pre-legislative scrutiny of the general scheme of the public health (alcohol) Bill 2015. The committee has had a very positive engagement with a range of delegate groups, who have presented disparate views on the proposals. I thank the Minister, the chief medical officer and Ms Luddy for their ongoing assistance to the committee.

We hope our work will contribute to the development of better regulation and measures to tackle the issue of alcohol misuse and reduce alcohol consumption.

I draw the attention of witnesses to 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 committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to a 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 they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect 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.

Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the House or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.

I have received apologies from Senator Imelda Henry. I invite the Minister to make his opening remarks.


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