Ar son an choiste, ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur romhat go dtí an gcruinniú. On behalf of the committee, I welcome to the meeting the members of the House of Lords Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. I welcome Lord Jay of Ewelme, Lord Caine, Baroness Goudie, Lord Hain, Baroness O'Loan and Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick. Without putting too much pressure on the sub-committee, Lord Jay has a formidable team. I know to be careful with the word "experience" because it can be mistaken for referring to one's age, but there is experience and wisdom among the members of that team. I have worked closely with a number of them in different chapters of my own political career. We are looking forward to their contributions and engagement.
This meeting is timely. I do not want to use jargon like "impasse" to describe where we are at but we have a challenge. It is through continued engagement, an opportunity for which we have today, when people are talking and communicating that problems are solved. We are grateful for our guests' attendance today and look forward to their engagement.
Before we begin, all witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that 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, or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory to an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that witnesses comply with any such direction. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State are advised that they should also be mindful of their domestic law and how it may apply to the evidence they give.
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.
I remind members of the constitutional requirement that members must be physically present within the confines of the place in which Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House or the Convention Centre Dublin in order to participate in public meetings. I will not permit a member to participate where they are not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Therefore, any members who attempt to participate from outside of the precincts will be asked to leave the meeting. In this regard, I ask any member partaking via Microsoft Teams that, prior to making their contribution to the meeting, they confirm that they are on the grounds of the Leinster House campus.
I thank members for their patience and call on Lord Jay of Ewelme to make his opening statement.