Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Farm Plastics Recycling: Discussion

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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Apologies have been received from Deputy Paul Kehoe and Senator Victor Boyhan.

Before we begin, I remind members that, in the context of the current Covid-19 restrictions, only the Chairman and staff are present in the committee room. All members must join remotely from elsewhere in the parliamentary precincts. The secretariat can issue invitations to join the meeting on MS Teams. Members may not participate in the meeting from outside of the parliamentary precincts. I ask members to mute their microphone when not making a contribution and please use the raise hand function to indicate. Please note that messages sent to the meeting chat are visible to all participants. Speaking slots are prioritised for members of the committee.

Today's meetings is in two sessions. The first session, from 3.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m., is an engagement with a representative from James Fitzgerald Agricultural Services. The second session, from 4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., is an engagement with representatives of the Irish Farm Film Producers Group, IFFPG. For the first session on farm plastics, I welcome to this meeting Mr. James Fitzgerald, owner of James Fitzgerald Agricultural Services, joining remotely. We have received his opening statement and briefing material, which have already been circulated to members. We are limited in our time due to Covid-19 safety restrictions, so the committee has agreed that the opening statement is taken as read. The committee will use the full session for questions and answers. All opening statements are published on the Oireachtas website and are publicly available.

Before we begin, I must read an important notice on parliamentary privilege. Witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they are to give to the committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to do so, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. Witnesses are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given. They are asked to respect 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. Participants joining the committee meeting from a location outside of parliamentary precincts are asked to know that the constitutional protections afforded to those participating within parliamentary precincts does not extend to them. No clear guidance can be given on whether, or the extent to which, participation is covered by absolute privilege of a statutory nature.

I invite questions from the members for Mr. Fitzgerald. We open up the subject on farm plastic.