I remind members, witnesses and those in the Public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones or switch them to flight mode as they cause interference to the sound quality of the recording for broadcast and for the reporting of the meeting.
The purpose of this meeting is to engage with two former members of the board of Caranua with regard to the management and operation of Caranua. On behalf of the committee and on behalf of the Chairman, Deputy O'Loughlin - who unfortunately cannot be here this morning and for which I apologise - I welcome Mr. Tom Cronin and Dr. Mary Lodato, former members of the board of Caranua.
I will invite each of the witnesses to make a brief opening statement, which could be a maximum of three minutes but as there are only two witnesses, there will be some latitude in the timing. The question time is probably going to be more useful. The opening statements will be followed by the question-and-answer engagement with committee members.
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 the Chair 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. Witnesses are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and 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.
Opening statements to the committee will be published on the committee website after the meeting. 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 House or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.