Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 14 October 2021
Public Accounts Committee
2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 29 - Environment, Climate and Communications
Chapter 9 - Remediation of Landfill Sites
This morning, we engage with witnesses from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. After lunch, we will consider correspondence and other business of the committee. The engagement with the witnesses will focus on the appropriation account for Vote 29 and chapter 9 of the Comptroller and Auditor General's accounts re remediation of landfill sites. We are joined remotely from outside the precincts of Leinster House by the following officials: Mr. Mark Griffin, Secretary General of the Department; Mr. Ciarán Ó hÓbáin, assistant secretary, communications; Mr. Fergal Mulligan, national broadband plan programme manager; Mr. Robert Deegan, principal officer, energy division; Mr. Philip Nugent, assistant secretary, natural resources and waste; and Ms Catherine McGinty, assistant principal officer, finance unit. We are also joined remotely from within the precincts of Leinster House by Mr. Ken Cleary, principal officer in the environment, climate and communications Vote section of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
Before we start, I wish to explain some limitations to parliamentary privilege and the practice of the House as regards references speakers may make to other persons. The evidence of witnesses physically present or who give evidence from within the precincts of Leinster House is protected pursuant to both the Constitution and statute by absolute privilege. However, a number of today's witnesses are giving evidence remotely from a place outside Leinster House's precincts and, as such, may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as those physically present. Witnesses have already been advised of this and may have thought it appropriate to take legal advice on the matter. Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that they 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 the Comptroller and Auditor General to make his opening statement.