Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

New School of Veterinary Medicine: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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Before we begin, I remind members, witnesses and persons in the Public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones.

Witnesses giving evidence within the parliamentary precincts are protected by absolute privilege with respect to the evidence they give to the committee. This means that witnesses will have full defence in any defamation action arising out of 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 I remind them 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 give evidence from a location outside the parliamentary precincts are asked to note that they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts, and they may consider it appropriate to take legal advice on this matter. Privilege against defamation does not apply to publication by witnesses outside the proceedings held by the committee of any matters arising from the proceedings.

Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that members should not comment on, criticise or make charges against persons 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 the utterances of members participating online in a committee meeting when they are participating within the parliamentary precincts. There can be no assurance with regard to participation online from outside the parliamentary precincts, and members should be mindful of this when they are contributing.

The purpose of today's first session is to resume our examination of a new school of veterinary medicine in Ireland. The committee will hear from representatives of a working group for reform in Irish veterinary education, including Mr. Jimmy Quinn, founder and director of the working group, Mr. Liam Moriarty and Mr. Ian Fleming. The gentlemen are very welcome to today's meeting. Their opening statements have been circulated to members and are taken as read. I will allow five minutes for a presentation and then we will go to questions and answers. Which of our witnesses will make the presentation?