I thank witnesses for appearing before the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs and I welcome them to the meeting to contribute to our hearings on tackling childhood obesity. We will be holding two sessions this morning. In our first session we will have presentations from representatives of the Association of Teachers of Home Economics; CHErIsH, the school of public health in UCC; and the home economics department of St. Angela's College in Sligo. In our second session we will have representatives of the No Fry Zone 4 Kids committee; the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute; and the school of education, childhood youth and sport, faculty of well-being, education and language studies of the Open University.
I welcome Ms Maria Hickey, president of the Association of Teachers of Home Economics; Ms Maria Barry, the vice president of the Association of Teachers of Home Economics; Dr. Karen Matvienko-Sikar, who is a member of the CHErIsH organisation in the school of public health in UCC; Ms Amanda McCloat, head of the home economics department at St. Angela's College in Sligo; and Dr. Elaine Mooney, lecturer in the home economics department at St. Angela's college in Sligo. They are all very welcome.
I also welcome members and viewers who might be watching proceedings on Oireachtas TV to this public session of the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs. I also welcome our guests in the Public Gallery and Senator Frank Feighan for joining us this morning.
I draw the witnesses' attention to the fact that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to this committee. If, however, they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. Witnesses 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 nor make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. 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 either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
I remind members and witnesses to switch off their phones or to put them into flight mode. Putting them on silent will not stop phones from interfering with our communication systems which may affect sound quality. It makes it very difficult for parliamentary reporters and people watching proceedings online to follow what we are doing. I would appreciate if members and witnesses would do that.
I advise our witnesses that any opening statements they make to the committee this morning will be published on the website of the committee after the meeting. After the witnesses' presentations there will be questions from members of the committee.
I call Ms Maria Hickey and Ms Maria Barry to make their opening statements.