Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence

Reserve Defence Forces: Discussion

9:45 am

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Before beginning I remind members, witnesses and persons in the Gallery to turn off their mobile phones. Members are requested to ensure that for the duration of the meeting their mobile phones are turned off completely or switched to airplane, safe or flight mode, depending on device. It is not sufficient for members to just put their phones on silent mode as this maintains the level of interference with the broadcasting system.

Before continuing with the agenda, I formally welcome Senator Ned O'Sullivan to the committee. This is the first time we have met in public since Senator O'Sullivan's appointment. I welcome him and acknowledge the knowledge and experience he brings to our committee. Senator O'Sullivan was appointed in place of Senator Mark Daly. I also think it timely to formally acknowledge Senator Daly's contribution to our work over a number of years.

Today we meet representatives of the Reserve Defence Forces Representative Association, RDFRA, to discuss issues for the Reserve Defence Force, who are very welcome. The format of the meeting is that we will hear the witnesses' opening statement before going into a question-and-answer session with members of the committee. Before they begin, I bring to their attention that witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the joint committee. If they are directed by the Chairman 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 they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice 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. I also remind members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person or body outside the Houses or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.

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