Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response

Covid-19: Impact on the Fiscal Position

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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I welcome our witnesses on the impact of Covid-19 on the State's fiscal position, with representatives of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. In the Dáil Chamber we will be joined by Dr. Eddie Casey, chief economist and head of secretariat and by video link from abroad by the following members of the Council: Mr. Sebastian Barnes, acting chairperson, and council members Ms Dawn Holland and Professor Michael McMahon. I can see everyone at least, which is a good start.

Remote witnesses will have received a note on privilege. There is a constitutional ambiguity on the degree of privileges which remote witnesses enjoy. Persons giving evidence from another jurisdiction should also be mindful of their domestic statutory regime.

Members are reminded of the provisions in Standing Order 186 that the committee should refrain from inquiring into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government or a Minister of the Government or the merits of the objectives of such policies.

We expect witnesses to answer questions asked by the committee clearly and with candour. Nevertheless, witnesses can and should expect to be treated fairly and with respect and consideration at all times in accordance with the witness protocol. If they have any concerns in that regard, I ask them to bring them to my attention immediately.

I invite Mr. Barnes to make his opening statement and to please limit it to five minutes. That is what we usually do. His statement has been circulated.