Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 17 May 2023
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Revitalising Derelict and Vacant Homes on Farmland: Discussion
Jackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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I will read the note on privilege again. Witnesses giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they give to a committee. This means witnesses have a full defence in any defamation action arising out of anything said at a committee meeting. However, they are expected not to abuse this privilege and may be directed to cease giving evidence on an issue on the Chair's direction. Witnesses should follow the direction of the Chair in this regard. They 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 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 within the parliamentary precincts and may consider it appropriate to take legal advice on this matter. Privilege against defamation does not apply to publications by witnesses outside the proceedings held by the committee of any matters arising from the proceedings.
In the second session on the topic of revitalising derelict or vacant homes on farmland, the committee will hear from the Irish Farmers Association, IFA, from which we are joined by Mr. Brian Rushe, deputy president, Ms Alice Doyle, chair of the farm family and social affairs committee, and Ms Claire McGlynn, policy executive of the committee. Joining the meeting remotely from the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, ICMSA, are Mr. Pat McCormack, president, Mr. John Enright, general secretary, and Ms Alisha Ryan, policy officer. From Macra na Feirme, we have Ms Elaine Houlihan who I wish the very best in her new role, Mr. Michael Curran, CEO, and Ms Niamh Farrell, chairperson of the rural youth committee. Joining us from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, ICSA, is Mr. Eddie Punch.
The opening statements have been circulated to members and will be taken as read. I will now call on each group to make a five-minute opening remark and then we will go into questions and answers. I call Mr. Rushe.