Business of Committee

We are now in public session. Apologies have been received from Deputy MacSharry. I welcome members to our online meeting. Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, only the clerk, support staff and I are in the committee room. Members of the committee are attending remotely from within the precincts of Leinster House. This is due to the constitutional requirement that, in order to participate in public meetings, members must be physically present within the confines of the place where Parliament has chosen to sit, namely Leinster House or the Convention Centre Dublin.

I ask members to confirm their location before contributing to ensure we are adhering to this constitutional requirement. We are also joined remotely by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. Seamus McCarthy, as a permanent witness to the committee. I ask all those in attendance to mute themselves when not contributing so that we do not pick up any background noise or feedback. I also ask that members use the button to raise their hands when they wish to contribute and to take it down again when they have done so. As usual, I ask members to ensure their mobile phones are on silent mode or switched off.

Members are reminded of the provision within Standing Order 218 that the committee shall refrain from inquiring into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government or a Minister of the Government or the merits of the objectives of such policies. Members are also reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. The business before us today is as follows: minutes; accounts and statements; correspondence; the draft work programme; and any other business.

The first items of business are the minutes of the meetings of 31 March, 20 April and 21 April, which have been circulated to members. Do Members wish to raise any matters relating to the minutes? Are the minutes agreed? Agreed. As usual, the minutes will be published on the committee’s web page.