Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Special Committee on Covid-19 Response

Impact of Covid-19: SME Recovery

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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I welcome our witnesses to the committee. This morning's session is dealing with SME recovery. From committee room 1 we are joined by Mr. John A. Moran, chairman, and Mr. Derek Butler, founder of SME Recovery Ireland; and Ms Jean McCabe, managing director of Willow boutique.

I draw the attention of witnesses to the fact that 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 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.

We expect witnesses to answer questions asked by the committee clearly and with candour, but witnesses can and should expect to be treated fairly and with respect and consideration at all times. If witnesses have any concern in that regard, I ask that they raise it immediately to the committee.

I invite Mr. Moran to make his opening statement. I ask that he limit it to five minutes. The statement has been circulated in advance.