Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Inflation: Discussion (resumed)

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

Members and all those in attendance are asked to exercise personal responsibility in protecting themselves and others from the risk of contracting Covid-19. They are strongly advised to practice good hand hygiene and to leave at least one vacant seat between themselves and others attending. They should also always maintain an appropriate level of social distance during and after the meeting. Masks, preferably of medical grade, should be worn at all times during the meeting except when speaking. I ask for their full co-operation in this regard.

I wish to explain some limitations to parliamentary privilege and the practice of the House as regards references witnesses may make to other persons in their evidence. The evidence of witnesses physically present or who give evidence from within the parliamentary precincts is protected pursuant to the Constitution and statute by absolute privilege. A witness giving evidence remotely from a place outside the parliamentary precinct may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness physically present does. Witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect 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 with regard to an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative they comply with any such direction. 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 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 requirements that members must be physically present within the confines of the place Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House, 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. Therefore, any member who attempts to participate from outside the parliamentary precinct will be asked to leave the meeting.

We now move to our engagement with the Central Bank of Ireland. On behalf of the meeting, I welcome Mr. Gabriel Makhlouf, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, and Dr. Mark Cassidy, director of economics and statistics, and thank them for attending the meeting. The committee is examining the issue of inflation and this is the third of three engagements on this topic. The intention of today's engagement is to discuss drivers of inflation, policy responses, budget 2022 and the impact of inflation. I invite Mr. Makhlouf to make his opening statement.


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