Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Aquaculture Industry: Discussion

Photo of Michael FitzmauriceMichael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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Apologies have been received from Senator Paul Daly and Deputy Kehoe. Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn is substituting for Deputy Matt Carthy. I am substituting for the Chair, Deputy Jackie Cahill.

Before we begin, I remind members, witnesses and persons in the Public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones. The purpose of today's meeting is to examine the challenges facing the aquaculture industry.

Witnesses giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they give to the committee. This means that witnesses have full defence in any defamation action for anything said at a committee meeting. However, witnesses are expected not to abuse this privilege and may be directed to cease giving evidence on an issue at the Chair's direction. Witnesses should follow the direction of the Chair in this regard and are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that, as is reasonable, no adverse commentary should be made against an identifiable third person or entity. Witnesses who are giving evidence from a location outside the parliamentary precincts are asked to note they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as witnesses giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts. They may therefore consider it appropriate to take legal advice on this matter. Privilege against defamation does not apply to the publication by witnesses, outside the proceedings held by the committee, of any matter arising from the proceedings.

Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against any person outside the Houses or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. Parliamentary privilege is considered to apply to utterances of members participating online in this committee meeting when their participation is from within the parliamentary precincts. There can be no assurances in the context of participation online from outside the parliamentary precincts. Members should be mindful of this when they are contributing.

At this session on the challenges to the aquaculture industry, the committee will hear from representatives of the Irish Farmers Association, IFA. I welcome Mr. Michael Molloy, chair of the IFA's aquaculture committee, Ms Catherine McManus, IFA aquaculture committee member, and Ms Teresa Morrissey, IFA aquaculture policy executive. I call on the witnesses to make their opening statements, and I will then call on members.