Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 23 February 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013: Post-Enactment Scrutiny (Resumed)
Jackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source
I remind members, witnesses and those in the Public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones. Members are requested to ensure that for the duration of the meeting their mobile phones are turned off completely, or switched to airplane safe or flight mode, depending on the device. It is not sufficient for members just to put phones on silent mode as it maintains the level of interference with the broadcasting system.
The purpose of today's meeting is to discuss, first, consideration of artificial canine insemination, canine insemination, canine fertility clinics and ear cropping in relation to post-enactment scrutiny of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (resumed). The purpose of the second session is to discuss development of the hemp sector in Ireland.
In regard to committee meetings, with effect from 25 January 2022 members and witnesses have the option of attending meetings with the relevant committee within the relevant committee room rather than participating via MS Teams. Masks should continue to be worn by those present when not addressing the committee. Room capacity will continue to be reduced in the short term until all microphones and seating can be returned.
Witnesses giving evidence within the parliamentary precincts are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they give to the committee. This means that a witness has a full defence in any defamation action for anything said at a committee meeting. However, witnesses are expected not to abuse this privilege and may be directed to cease giving evidence on an issue at the Chair's direction. Witnesses should follow the direction of the Chair in this regard and are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that, as far as is reasonable, no adverse commentary should be made against an identifiable third party or entity. Witnesses who are to give evidence from a location outside the parliamentary precincts are asked to note that they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts and may consider it appropriate to take legal advice on the matter. Privilege against defamation does not apply to the publication by witnesses outside the proceedings held by the committee of any matter arising from the proceedings.
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 House or any official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. Parliamentary privilege is considered to apply to the utterances of members participating online in a committee meeting when their participation is from within the parliamentary precincts. There can be no assurance in relation to participation online from outside the parliamentary precincts, and members should be mindful of this when they are contributing.
The first session from 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. will deal with consideration of artificial canine insemination, canine insemination, canine fertility clinics and ear cropping in the context of post-enactment scrutiny of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (resumed). I welcome Dr. Tim Kirby, director, PetBond. I now call him to make his opening statement.