Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs

Developments at European Union Level: Commissioner Mairead McGuinness

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

We have received apologies from Deputy Harkin and Senator Martin. We are going to have an engagement with Commissioner Mairead McGuinness this morning. Ar son an choiste, cuirim fáilte go dtí an cruinniú roimpi. Is é seo an chéad chruinniú a bhí againn léi óna ceapachán. Táimid ag dúil go mór leis an díospóireacht agus leis an gcomhrá faoi réimse pointí. On behalf of the committee, I extend a very warm welcome to Commissioner McGuinness. We are delighted to have her here this morning and look forward to a very constructive engagement. We will see how she has been getting on in her new role and members will obviously wish to raise a number of specific pertinent issues. We look forward to that.

Before we begin, all witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that 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 or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, it the witness's statements are potentially defamatory in relation to an identifiable person or entity, she will be directed to discontinue her remarks. It is imperative that she comply with any such direction. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State are advised that they should also be mindful of domestic law and how it may apply to the evidence they give. 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 of the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.

I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the place in which Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House or the Convention Centre Dublin, in order to participate in public meetings. I will not permit a member to participate where he or she is not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Any member who attempts to participate from outside of the precincts will be asked to leave the meeting. In this regard, I ask any members participating via Microsoft Teams to confirm they are on the grounds of the Leinster House campus prior to making a contribution.

I am aware that Commissioner McGuinness is in Brussels this morning. During an initial conversation I had with her offline, she told me that the weather is not good there. If I may speak on behalf of the committee, our thoughts are with the people of Germany, where there have been terrible floods and lives have been lost. We are thinking of them this morning. I invite the Commissioner to make her opening statement.


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