We will now resume our meeting and deal with item No. 9 which is matters relating to the EBS tied agents. I welcome Mr. Shane Kavanagh and Mr. Cormac Butler here this morning and before calling on the witnesses to give their opening statements I want to advise the witnesses that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to this committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence in relation to 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 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. Members are reminded that under longstanding parliamentary practice members 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 them identifiable.
I thank Mr. Kavanagh and Mr. Butler for coming here today and invite them to make their opening statements please.