Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 12 November 2015
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children
Child and Infant Mental Health: Discussion
In our first session this morning we will discuss child and infant mental health services. I welcome Professor Kevin Nugent, director of developmental medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and from Harvard Medical School; Dr. Paul D'Alton, president, Psychological Society of Ireland, who has attended committee meetings and is a good friend to the committee; Ms Kate Mitchell, co-ordinator, and Ms Lara Kelly, communications and campaigns officer, Children's Mental Health Coalition. Ms Kelly has also been a very good advocate and friend of the committee. I thank all of our guests for being here. It is a great pleasure to have Professor Nugent at the meeting as he is a leading Irish academic teaching in Harvard, but he is also an international expert on infant mental health. He is most welcome back to Dublin. I welcome our other guests who have been involved in different aspects of the work of the committee in the past couple of years.
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 it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to so do, 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 any person or an 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 Houses or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
I invite Dr. Nugent to make his opening remarks.