For the first session on the regulation of veterinary medicines, I welcome the following representatives of the Health Products Regulatory Authority, HPRA: Dr. J. Gabriel Beechinor, director of veterinary sciences, and Dr. David Murphy, manager, committee for medicinal products for veterinary use, CVMP. Both are joining remotely and are welcome. We have received their opening statement and briefing material, which has already been circulated to members. As we are limited in our time due to Covid-19 safety restrictions, the committee has agreed that the opening statements will be taken as read so that we can use the full session for questions and answers. All opening statements are published on the Oireachtas website and publicly available.
Witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence in relation to a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. Participants who are in locations outside the parliamentary precincts are asked to note that the constitutional protections afforded to those participating from within the parliamentary precincts do not extend to them. No clear guidance can be given on whether or the extent to which participation is covered by the absolute privilege of a statutory nature.
I now invite questions from members. I call Senator Victor Boyhan.