I welcome members and viewers who may be watching the proceedings on Oireachtas TV to the seventh public session of the newly formed Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action. Before introducing our witnesses and at the request of the broadcasting services, I ask that members and visitors in the Gallery ensure that for the duration of the meeting, their mobile phones are turned off completely or switched to airplane mode. On behalf of the committee, I extend a warm welcome to Mr. John Fogarty, chairperson of Templederry Community Wind Farm and Community Renewable Energy; and Mr. Paul Kenny, chief executive officer of the Tipperary Energy Agency; as well as to Dr. Paul McGowan, chairperson, Mr. John Melvin, director of energy markets and Ms Lisa Fahy, manager of retail markets, of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, CRU.
I advise the witnesses by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of the evidence they are to give to the joint committee. If, however, they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to 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 or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.
Members are reminded of the long-standing ruling of the Chair 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 call on Mr. Fogarty to make his opening statement.