Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Committee on Budgetary Oversight
Fiscal Assessment Report: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council
We are now in public session. This afternoon we are holding our regular post-budget session with the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council to discuss the fiscal assessment report. Before we begin, I would like to ask members and witnesses to turn off their mobile phones for the usual reason that it interferes with the sound recording. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome IFAC back to our committee for what is the third engagement this year. We are delighted to have back Mr. Seamus Coffey, who is chairperson of IFAC. He is accompanied by Mr. Sebastian Barnes, Mr. Michael Tutty, Dr. Martina Lawless and Dr. Eddie Casey. We appreciate all of you giving your time to us again and we thank you for making yourselves available.
I will read the usual privilege statement and then I will call on Mr. Coffey to make his opening statement. I wish to advise that by virtue of section 17(2)(I) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. If, however, you are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to do so, you are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect to your evidence. You are directed that only the 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, you should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him or her 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 outside the Houses or an official either by a name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
I now call on Mr. Coffey to make his opening statement to the committee.