I request that members sit only in the permitted seats and in front of the available microphones to ensure they are heard. This is important, as failing to do so can cause serious problems in broadcasting and for editorial and sound staff. I remind members to maintain social distance at all times during and following the meeting. Members are requested to use the 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, Mr. Alan Esslemont, director general of TG4, and Mr. Paul Farrell, managing director of Virgin Media Ireland. We are also joined remotely via Microsoft Teams by Ms Áine Ní Chaoindealbháin, director of operations in Virgin Media Television, and Ms Anna-Maria Barry, head of public relations in Virgin Media Ireland.
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 committee may publish the opening statements on the website following the meeting. The rota for speaking has been circulated to members. I remind them that each grouping has ten minutes for questions and answers.
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. However, they are 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 relation to identifying a person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that witnesses comply with any such direction. So far so good; we have not had to give anybody that kind of instruction or direction and I am sure today will be no different.
I invite Mr. Esslemont to make his presentation.