Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Challenges Facing the Horse Sport Industry: Horse Sport Ireland (Resumed)

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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The second session of today's meeting, to discuss the control and planning of the weighing of fishery projects with various fishery representative organisations, has been deferred to another date. I remind members and witnesses to turn off their mobile phones.

Witnesses giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts are protected by absolute privilege in respect of evidence they give to the committee. This means they have a full defence against any defamation action relating to 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 by the Chair. Witnesses should follow the direction of the Chair in this regard. They are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that, insofar 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 that they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness giving evidence from within those precincts. 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 those proceedings.

Members are reminded 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 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 the committee meeting when their participation is from within the parliamentary precincts. Members may not participate online in a public meeting from outside those precincts and any attempt to do so will result in the member having his or her online access removed.

The purpose of the meeting is to resume our examination of challenges facing the horse sport industry. The committee will hear from representatives from Horse Sport Ireland, namely, Mr. Michael Dowling, chairman; Dr. Kevin Smith, board member; Mr. Denis Duggan, chief executive officer; Mr. Killian Carroll, chief financial officer; and Dr. Sonja Egan, head of breeding, innovation and development. They are welcome. Their opening statement has been circulated to members. I would say the statement is longer than the five minutes but as we have no second session this evening, we will allow the witnesses the time needed to go through it. On conclusion of the opening statement, we will open up the discussion to questions from members.