I remind members to turn their mobile phones off or switch them to flight mode while attending the meeting because they interfere with the sound system. They make it difficult for the parliamentary reporters to report the meeting and television coverage and web streaming will be adversely affected.
We are awaiting the arrival of one of the witnesses. I am sure he will be here soon. We will go ahead with the meeting, the purpose of which is to have an engagement on the current use of reduced timetables, to look at the impact on students and schools, and to look for recommendations regarding practice and monitoring because there is no current effective monitoring of the practice and it is difficult to obtain proper data for examination as to the impact of the timetables. It will be a very useful and interesting session. We have received submissions from certain other bodies and will hold another session on 13 June. Thereafter, the committee will discuss what it has heard and make recommendations to the Minister and the Department.
Delegates have been grouped thematically. On behalf of the committee, I welcome Mr. Patrick Reilly, mental health worker at Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre; Ms Lorraine Dempsey, information and policy officer of the Special Needs Parents Association, Mr. Adam Harris, who is yet to arrive, from AsIAm; Ms Maria Joyce, co-ordinator of the National Traveller Women's Forum; and Mr. Mark O'Connor, community engagement manager with Inclusion Ireland. The committee will hear their submissions first. We have had the opportunity to read the statements submitted before the meeting. We are also joined by Mr. Kieran Golden, president of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals; Mr. Pat Goff, CEO of the Irish Primary Principals' Network; Ms Breda Corr, general secretary of the National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education; and Dr. Michael Redmond, director of research and development for the Joint Managerial Body secretariat of secondary schools.
I propose to take speakers from the group seated on the top tier first, followed by engagement with committee members, after which we will hear from the stakeholders seated on the bottom tier. The format of the meeting is that I will invite witnesses to make a brief opening statement. I ask them to stick to the maximum time of three minutes because there are several people to hear from and we want to afford members an opportunity to comment and ask questions.
I draw the attention of witnesses to the fact that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by the Chair to cease giving evidence on 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. Opening statements made to the committee will be published on its 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.
If delegates wish to add to their submission at a later stage, they should send a written submission to the clerk to the committee who will ensure that it is circulated to all members. We will take all such additional comments on board when we are considering our findings and recommendations. I invite Mr. Reilly to make his opening presentation.