Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Public Service Performance Report 2018: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Photo of Colm BrophyColm Brophy (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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I remind members and delegates to turn off their mobile phones as interference caused by them affects the transmission and recording of the proceedings.

From the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform I welcome Mr. Ronnie Downes, assistant secretary; Mr. John Burke, principal officer; and Ms Caroline O'Loughlin, assistant principal. We are considering the public service performance report 2018.

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. However, if they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to 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 asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, 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.

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 thank the delegates for their attendance and invite Mr. Downes to make his opening statement.