Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport

National Cyber Security Centre Review: Discussion

Photo of Kieran O'DonnellKieran O'Donnell (Limerick City, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Apologies have been received from Deputy Duncan Smith. The purpose of the meeting is to receive an update on the review of the National Cyber Security Centre, NCSC. On behalf of the committee, I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of the Department the Environment, Climate and Communications, Deputy Ossian Smyth, and his officials. I am sorry for the slight delay in the commencement of the meeting.

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, if their statements are potentially defamatory in relation to an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks and it is imperative that they comply with any such direction. Witnesses attending remotely outside of the Leinster House campus should note that there are some limitations to parliamentary privilege and, as such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as witnesses who are physically present. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State are advised that they should also be mindful of their domestic law and how it may apply to 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 any person outside the Houses or an official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.

For anyone watching this meeting, Oireachtas members and witnesses now have the option of being physically present in the committee or to join the meeting remotely via Microsoft Teams, which is a welcome development. It shows that, like everywhere else in society, the Oireachtas is very much getting back to normal business. I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the Leinster House complex in order to participate in public meetings. I will not permit members to participate where they are not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Any member who attempts to participate from outside the precincts will, reluctantly, be asked to leave the meeting. In this regard, I ask any member participating via Microsoft Teams, prior to making a contribution to the meeting, to confirm that they are on the grounds of the Leinster House campus. If attending in the committee room, people are asked to exercise personal responsibility to protect themselves and others from the risk of contracting Covid-19. I strongly advise that people employ good hand hygiene and leave at least one vacant seat between them and the others attending. People should always maintain the appropriate level of social distancing during and after the meeting. Masks should be worn at all times during the meeting except when speaking.

I call on the Minister of State to make his opening statement.


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