Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Joint Committee On Children, Equality, Disability, Integration And Youth

Child Poverty: Discussion

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein)
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We have apologies from Senators O'Sullivan and Seery Kearney.

If any members or witnesses participating remotely experience sound or technical issues, will they let us know through the chat function? Otherwise we will proceed. As this is a public meeting, the chat function on MS Teams should only be used to advise participants of any technical issues or urgent matters and not for general comments or statements. I remind members who are participating remotely to keep their devices on mute until they are invited to speak. When they are speaking, I ask that where possible they have their camera switched on and be mindful that we are in public session.

I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the place where Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House, in order to participate in public meetings. I will not permit members to participate where they are not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Therefore, any member who attempts to participate in the meeting from outside the precincts will be refused.

This meeting is to discuss issues of child poverty. I welcome the following: Ms Anna Shakespeare, chief executive of Pobal; Dr. Margaret Rogers, national manager with better start national early years quality development; Ms Jennifer McCarthy Flynn, head of policy at the National Women's Council; Ms Heydi Foster Breslin, CEO of An Cosán; Ms Karen Kiernan, chairperson, and, Dr. Tricia Keilthy, member, of the National One Parent Family Alliance; Ms Danielle McKenna, project manager with Rialto Youth Project; and Ms Gillian O'Connor, team leader of Dolphin House Homework Club.

The order will be Ms Shakespeare, then Ms McCarthy Flynn, Ms Kiernan and finally Ms McKenna. Anyone else who is present is welcome to answer questions.

I advise the witnesses of the following in relation to parliamentary privilege. As all the witnesses are appearing before the committee virtually, I need to point out there is uncertainty if parliamentary privilege will apply to their evidence from a location outside of the parliamentary precincts of Leinster House. Therefore, if they are directed by me to cease giving evidence on a particular matter, it is imperative that they comply with any such direction.

Everybody was allocated three minutes' speaking time so I ask people to bear in mind our time restrictions and keep to their time. There will be questions and answers with members afterwards. Each member is given five minutes' speaking time, to include questions and answers.

I thank Ms Shakespeare for being with us and ask her to give her opening statement in her own time.