Business of Committee

I welcome everyone to our public virtual meeting using Microsoft Teams. Apologies have been received from Senator Craughwell.

The Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, Deputy Ó Fearghaíl, and the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Mark Daly, have appealed to everybody in the parliamentary community to continue to follow public health advice, wear a mask and maintain social distancing. I request that members, witnesses and staff use the wipes and hand sanitiser provided to clean shared seats and desks so as to supplement regular sanitation. This will help mitigate the risk of Covid-19, including the Delta variant, spreading among the parliamentary community.

Members and all in attendance are asked to exercise personal responsibility in protecting themselves and others from the risk of contracting Covid-19. They are strongly advised to practice good hand hygiene and will note every second seat in the committee room has been removed from use in order to facilitate social distancing. I urge those attending not to move any chair from its current position and they should always maintain an appropriate level of social distancing during and after the meeting. Masks, preferably of medical grade, should always be worn during the meeting, except when speaking. I ask for members' full co-operation in this regard.

The first item on the agenda is the approval of minutes from the previous meeting. I propose we approve the minutes of the private and public meetings of 14 October 2021, as already approved in private session. This must be done for procedural reasons. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the place in which Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House, to participate in public meetings. I will not permit a member to participate where he or she is not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Therefore, any member who attempts to participate from outside the precincts will be asked to leave the meeting.