Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
General Scheme of the Greyhound Industry Bill 2017: Discussion
We are in public session. Before we begin, I remind members and witnesses in the Visitors Gallery to ensure their mobile phones are turned off for the complete duration of the meeting.
This meeting will deal with pre-legislative scrutiny of the general scheme of the Greyhound Industry Bill 2017 through discussion with the Irish Council Against Blood Sports and the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland, GRAI. From the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, I welcome Ms Aideen Yourell, campaign director, and Ms Nicole Matthews, committee member; and from the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland, I welcome Ms Una Jansen, spokesperson, and Ms Jessica Reid and Ms Margaret Moran, committee members. I thank them for coming before the committee today to discuss the heads of the Greyhound Industry Bill 2017 and for their witness submissions, which have been circulated to the the members of the committee. These will also be published on the committee website. We will hear a short presentation from each group, which will be followed by questions from the committee members on the heads of the Bill.
Witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they are to give to the joint committee. However, if they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to do so, 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.
Before we begin, I want to put on record my own declaration that the chairperson of the Irish Greyhound Board, Mr. Phil Meaney, who will be coming before us to make a presentation, is a personal friend of mine.
I ask Ms Yourell to make her opening statement and that will be followed by the statement from the GRAI. We will then take questions.