I wish our members a good afternoon and an early good morning to our guests. We are pleased to host this meeting, given that this is the final week of our parliamentary term and members and I were keen to have an opportunity to engage with our guests, however briefly, in order to allow them to update us on current matters within the Irish immigrant community. We are pleased to meet this afternoon with Ms Aileen Leonard Dibra, Ms Celine Kennelly, who joins us from San Francisco, Mr. Michael Collins from Chicago, Mr. Ronnie Millar of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers in Boston, and Mr. Ciarán Staunton of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. Apologies have been received from Senators Wilson and Ó Donnghaile.
Our guests are welcome. They are joining us from the United States. I thank them for agreeing to meet us at this early hour. The format of the meeting is that we will hear opening statements from them - I believe Ms Leonard Dibra will lead off - before going into a questions and answers session with members. We are time limited due to Covid restrictions, so I ask that witnesses be conscious of time constraints in their initial addresses so as to allow some time for questions from members. I ask members to be concise in their questions in order to allow everyone an opportunity.
I remind witnesses of the long-standing parliamentary practice 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 that person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory in respect of an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that any such direction be complied with immediately. For witnesses attending remotely outside the Leinster House campus, which is the case for all of our witnesses today, there are some limitations to parliamentary privilege. As such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness physically present does. However, I do not expect any of these issues to arise in our discussions. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State - in their case, the United States of America - are advised to be mindful of their domestic law and how it will apply to evidence given to our committee.
I remind members 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 or in such a way as to make that person identifiable. I remind members that they are only allowed to participate in this meeting if they are physically located in the Leinster House complex or in the Convention Centre Dublin where the Dáil and Seanad are meeting in plenary session today.
For anyone watching this meeting online, some Oireachtas Members and witnesses are accessing this meeting remotely. Due to the unprecedented Covid circumstances and the large number of people attending the meeting remotely, I ask everyone to bear with us in the event of technical issues of an adverse nature arising.
I am delighted that Ms Leonard Dibra and her colleagues have joined us. I will give her the floor and ask her to make her opening statement.