The college is represented by Dr. William J. Smyth, President and Mr. Pat Dalton, Bursar. I should also mention John Hayden, secretary and chief executive of the Higher Education Authority. Witnesses who come before the Committee should be aware they do not enjoy absolute privilege and should be apprised as follows. Members and witnesses' attention is drawn to the fact that as of and from 2 August 1998, section 10 of the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunity of Witnesses) Act, 1997, grants certain rights to persons who are identified in the course of the Committee's proceedings. These rights include the right to give evidence, the right to produce or send documents to the Committee, the right to appear before the Committee either in person or through a representative, the right to make a written and oral submission, the right to request the Committee to direct the attendance of witnesses, the production of documents and the right to cross-examine the witnesses. For the most part, these rights may be exercised only with the consent of the Committee. Persons being invited before the Committee are made aware of these rights and any persons identified in the course of the proceedings who are not present may have to be made aware of these rights and provided with the transcript of the relevant parts of the Committee's proceedings if the Committee consider it appropriate in the interests of justice.
Notwithstanding this provision in the legislation, I remind Members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the House or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
I welcome Dr. Smyth. I must state my declaration of interest as we are neighbours and St. Patrick's College, Maynooth is in my constituency. Perhaps the Comptroller and Auditor General will introduce the report.