Apologies have been received from Senator Sharon Keogan. I will go through a few housekeeping matters. If any members or witnesses participating experience any sound or technical issues, they should let the committee know through the chat function. Otherwise, we will proceed. I advise everyone that as this is a public meeting, the chat function on MS Teams should only be used to advise participants of any technical issues or urgent matters and should not be used to make general comments or statements.
I also remind members who are participating remotely to keep their devices on mute until they are invited to speak. When they are speaking, I ask, where possible, that their cameras are switched on and that they are mindful we are in public session.
In addition, I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the place where Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House, in order to participate in public meetings. I cannot permit a member to participate where they are not adhering to this constitutional requirement, therefore, any member who attempts to participate in this meeting from outside the precincts will be refused.
For members who are participating in the meeting from the committee room, everybody needs to be mindful of Covid-19. Every second seat has been removed to facilitate social distancing. I urge members not to move any chairs. They should also maintain an appropriate level of social distancing during and after the meeting. Masks, preferably of medical grade, should be worn at all times during the meeting except when speaking.