Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Select Committee on Health
Business of Committee
I remind members that the meeting will be conducted in public session. I also remind members and witnesses to turn off their mobile phones or to switch them to flight mode. Mobile phones interfere with the sound system, make it difficult for technical staff and affect the quality of television and web streaming coverage. 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 an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. I do not think we received any apologies.
The meeting has been convened for the purpose of the consideration of the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016. Is that agreed? Agreed. I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Catherine Byrne, who has responsibility for communities and the drugs strategy. She is an ex officiomember of the committee. I thank her for attending. I also welcome her officials to the meeting. Officials should not speak at the meeting; only the Minister should speak. There is one amendment to the Bill, which has been circulated. I now invite the Minister of State to make her opening remarks.
I thank the members of the select committee for allowing me to be here to proceed with Committee Stage of the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill, which has gone through the Seanad and the Dáil. For those who have not followed the proceedings in both Houses, the purpose of the Bill is to control certain substances that are legal but which will be put on the controlled substance list in the future. They are mainly prescription drugs which are being sold openly on the street. I will not name them all as there are a number of them, but members will know them as Z-drugs, benzos and other relevant Z-drugs in the listing. The purpose of the meeting is to go through the amendments and to answer questions on them, if necessary, and to complete Committee Stage. I thank the Chairman for facilitating this morning's meeting.