Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Inflation: Discussion

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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Good evening. Members and all in attendance are asked to exercise personal responsibility in protecting themselves and others from the risk of contracting Covid-19. They are strongly advised to practise good hand hygiene and to leave at least one vacant seat between themselves and others attending the meeting. They should also always maintain an appropriate level of social distance during and after the meeting. Masks, preferably of medical grade, should be worn at all times during the meeting except when speaking. I ask for everyone's full co-operation in this.

Before we begin, I wish to explain some limitations to parliamentary privilege and the practice of the Houses as regards references witnesses may make to other persons in their evidence. The evidence of witnesses physically present or of those who give evidence from within the parliamentary precincts is protected, pursuant to both the Constitution and statute, by absolute privilege. However, as the witnesses are giving evidence remotely from a place outside the parliamentary precincts, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness physically present. Witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that 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 or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory regarding an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks and it is imperative that they comply with any such direction.

Committee members are reminded once again 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 of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the place in which Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House or, in some cases, the Convention Centre Dublin in order to participate in public meetings. I will not permit a member to participate where he or she is not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Therefore, any member who attempts to participate from outside the precincts will be asked to leave the meeting.

On behalf of the committee I welcome Dr. Ella Kavanagh from the department of economics in University College Cork, UCC, and Professor Karl Whelan from the economics department in University College Dublin, UCD, and thank them for attending. The purpose of today's meeting is to examine the very current concern and issue of inflation. The committee would also like to discuss drivers of inflation, possible policy responses to the current levels of inflation and budget 2022. I now invite Dr. Kavanagh to deliver her opening statement.