Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Implications of Brexit for Agriculture Sector: Discussion
I remind members, witnesses and those in the Public Gallery to ensure their mobile phones are turned off as they interfere with the system here in the meeting room. Today we are dealing again with the issue of Brexit. Approximately two years ago this committee published a report on the potential impact of Brexit on the agricultural sector. To say the least, we found the news was not particularly good in that regard. As a result of ongoing negotiations over the past number of weeks and months, we decided to get an update on where things are at the moment from an agricultural point of view. We decided to bring in those directly involved in that sector, including the Irish Exporters Association and the British Irish Chamber of Commerce which we are delighted to have before us here today. I welcome from the Irish Exporters Association Mr. Simon McKeever, CEO; and from the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Pascal Koenig, communications and public affairs manager, Ms Maree Gallagher, chair of the agrifood committee and Mr. Paul Lynam, head of sectoral policy. I thank them for coming in today to discuss the impact of Brexit on the agrifood sector and trade. I also thank them for the submissions they have made in advance of the meeting today.
Before we begin I want to bring to the witnesses attention that they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they give to the committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence in relation to 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 nor make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. Members are reminded of the long standing parliamentary practice to the effect that members 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 ask Mr. McKeever to make his opening statement. I will then ask Ms Gallagher for her opening statement to be followed by questions from members.