Our guests are very welcome to today's committee meeting. This engagement marks Europe Day and the European Year of Youth and the topic of youth experiences and perspectives on Europe. The purpose of today's meeting is to mark Europe Day by amplifying young voices and hearing youth experiences and perspectives on Europe. Europe Day marks the anniversary of the historic Schuman declaration, a day to reflect on the strides taken to bring peace and prosperity to the continent of Europe. The war in Ukraine highlights that the ideals behind the setting up of what became the European Union are still very much necessary. This week also marks the 50th anniversary of the referendum in which Irish people voted to join the then European Economic Community on 10 May 1972.
The year 2022 has also been designated as the European Year of Youth and the aim is to boost the efforts of the EU, the member states and the regional local authorities to honour, support and engage with youth in a post-pandemic perspective. In this context the committee is pleased to be joined by representatives of Comhairle na nÓg, which are child and youth councils in the 31 local authorities of the country, which give children and young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies. We are joined by Mr. Leo Galvin, representing Donegal, by Ms Prachi Agrawal representing Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and by Mr. James O'Brien, representing Wexford. You are all very welcome as are your parents and guardians who are here with you today and who are in the Gallery. I will shortly ask each of you to contribute but before we begin I must read a note on privilege and house-keeping matters before you make your presentations.
All witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that 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 or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, if the statement of a witness is potentially defamatory in respect of an identifiable person or entity, the witness will be directed to discontinue these remarks. It is imperative that he or she complies with any such direction.
For witnesses attending the meeting remotely from outside the Leinster House complex, there are some limitations to parliamentary privilege and, as such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness who is physically present does.
Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State are advised that they should be mindful of 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 Houses or an official either by name in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. I remind members of the constitutional requirements that they must be physically present within the confines of the Leinster House complex to participate in public meetings.
I invite all of the witnesses to make their opening presentations, starting with Mr. Galvin, and then we will have questions from members.