Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 21 January 2016
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children
Wellness, Well-being and Mental Health: Discussion
We will resume in public session. Is that agreed? Agreed. I remind members and witness to turn off their mobile telephones as they interfere with the broadcasting of proceedings.
In this session we will discuss the issue of wellness, well-being and mental health. I welcome Mr. Niall Breslin, perhaps better known as "Bressie", and thank him for his leading role in raising this matter. I also welcome a good friend of the committee, Dr. Paul D'Alton, who has appeared before us on a number of occasions. He has been also a consistent advocate in raising awareness issues. We are lucky to have two eminent individuals who have been consistent in advocating and raising awareness of problems, not only those facing young people but also those relating to the entire issue of mental health, and who have written academic papers and spoken about their own personal experiences. I thank both witnesses for appearing before the committee.
By virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. If witnesses are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to do so, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. Witnesses are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. I remind members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.
I apologise to members and witnesses for the fact that I will be obliged to leave for a speaking engagement in the Dáil at around 11.15 a.m. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connorhas agreed to act as Chair. I invite Mr. Niall Breslin to make his opening remarks.