Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs

Task Force Report on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and Doing Less More Efficiently: Discussion

2:00 pm

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent) | Oireachtas source

As we have a quorum we will commence in public session. Apologies have been received from Deputies Mattie McGrath and David Cullinane and Senator Gerard Craughwell. I remind members to ensure that their mobile phones are switched off. This is important as it causes interference with the broadcasting service.

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.

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 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 asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.

The purpose of the meeting is to consider the final report of the European Union task force on subsidiarity, proportionality and "doing less more efficiently". I am delighted we have two of the best scholars on European affairs working in Ireland before the committee. I welcome Dr. Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan from University College Cork, UCC, and Professor Gavin Barrett from University College Dublin, UCD, and thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend.

The committee has considered the issue of how and where decisions are made a number of times. We also follow with interest the ongoing work of the task force led by the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr. Frans Timmermans. The final report of the task force was published during the summer. It is helpful that our two guests are present to share their thoughts on the report and to consider issues related to the future of Europe. I will ask Dr. Schön-Quinlivan and Professor Barrett to make their initial opening statements, after which members will make comments and ask questions.


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