Before we begin our discussion, I wish to note that the committee has agreed in private session that it will write again to the general director of RTÉ, Ms Dee Forbes, seeking further clarification from RTÉ regarding the circumstances in the recently reported incidence of non-compliance with Covid-19 public health guidelines and regulations within RTÉ.
I request that members sit only in the permitted seats and in front of the available microphones to ensure they are heard. It is important as failing to do so can cause serious problems in broadcasting for editorial and sound staff. I remind members to please maintain social distance at all times during the following meeting. Members are requested to use wipes and hand sanitiser provided to clean the seats and desks shared to supplement the regular sanitisation in the breaks between meetings.
I welcome our guests from Screen Ireland. Ms Désirée Finnegan, chief executive, is joining us in person. Her colleagues, Ms Teresa McGrane, deputy CEO of Screen Ireland, and Mr. Gareth Lee, manager of Screen Skills Ireland, will join remotely via Microsoft Teams. I would also like to welcome Mr. Stuart Switzer, a member of the board of Screen Producers Ireland, SPI, who is in committee room 3, and his colleague, Ms Aoife O’ Sullivan, chairperson of SPI's film and TV drama committee, who will also join remotely via Microsoft Teams.
The format of the meeting is such that I will invite witnesses to make opening statements, which will be followed by questions from the members of the committee. The rota for those questions has been circulated among members.
I remind members of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against any person outside the House or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. I ask the witnesses to note they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their presentations they make to the committee here today. This means they have absolute defence against any defamation action for anything they may say at the meeting. They are, however, expected not to abuse this privilege and it is my duty as Chairman to ensure that this privilege is not abused. Therefore, if witnesses' statements are potentially defamatory in the context of the identification of a person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that witnesses comply with any such direction. I will begin by asking Ms Finnegan to make her presentation, followed by Mr. Switzer. We will then take questions from members.