Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

General Scheme of the Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020: Discussion

Brian Leddin (Limerick City, Green Party)
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I welcome Mr. Brian Carroll, assistant secretary, and Ms Emer Griffin, assistant principal, from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. Our witnesses are appearing remotely from inside the Leinster House complex. The format of the meeting is that they will be invited to make a brief opening statement and this will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Before we begin, I draw the attention of our guests 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 Chairman to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they 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, persons or an entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. I also advise witnesses that opening statements they have made to the committee will be published on the committee website after the meeting. 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 remind members and witnesses to turn off their mobile phones or to switch them to flight mode. Mobile phones interfere with the sound system and make it difficult for parliamentary reporters to report the meeting, and also the television coverage and web streaming are adversely affected. I invite Mr. Carroll to make his opening statement.