Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement

Challenges Facing Cross-Border Authorities: Irish Central Border Area Network

2:15 pm

Photo of Declan BreathnachDeclan Breathnach (Louth, Fianna Fail)
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Before we begin, I remind members, witnesses and persons in the Public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones. Members are requested to ensure that for the duration of the meeting their mobile phone is turned off completely or switched to airplane, safe or flight mode, depending on their device. It is not sufficient for members just to put their phones on silent mode as that will maintain a level of interference with the broadcasting system.

We will now meet representatives of the Irish Central Border Area Network, ICBAN. They are most welcome here today, both those who are giving witness and those in the Public Gallery. From ICBAN, I welcome Mr. Shane Campbell, CEO of ICBAN, Councillor Paul Robinson, chair, Councillor Pat Treanor, Councillor Alex Baird, Mr Adrian McCreesh and Mr. Eoin Doyle. In addition to the witnesses from the panel, I also welcome members of the visiting delegation from various member councils who are in the Gallery.

The format of the meeting is that we will hear the opening statements before having a question and answer session with the members of the committee. The two members who have had to leave - Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan and Senator Frank Feighan - will be back.

I draw the attention of witnesses to the fact that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They 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 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.

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 invite Mr. Robinson and Mr. Campbell to make their opening statements.