I am delighted to welcome our guests. This meeting has been convened with members of the Irish Music Rights Organisation, IMRO, Give Us The Night and the Event Production Industry Covid-19 Working Group, EPIC, for a discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on the entertainment sector. I welcome the witnesses to the meeting, who will be joining us remotely via Microsoft Teams due to the restrictions. With us from the Irish Music Rights Organisation we have Mr. Victor Finn, chief executive officer and Mr. Keith Johnson, director of marketing and membership. We also have Mr. Sunil Sharpe, founder of Give Us The Night and his fellow Give Us The Night spokesperson, Mr. Robbie Kitt. I also welcome the members from Event Production Industry Covid-19 Working Group, namely, Mr. Liam Fitzgerald, chairperson of the Association of Irish Stage Technicians; and Ms Kim O'Callaghan, project manager and deputy event controller with MCD. 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. I am sure members have the speaking slots sitting in front of them so they know when and where to come in. I ask them to speak to their time slots in order to give as much time to their guests to contribute as possible. I will call each organisation to deliver their opening statements in the following order. IMRO will go first, followed by Give Us The Night and then the EPIC working group.
Before I invite the witnesses to deliver their opening statements, I want to advise them of the following in regard to parliamentary privilege. 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 or entity either 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. 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. As our witnesses today are attending from outside the precincts of the Leinster House campus, they should please note that there are some limitations on parliamentary privilege and, as such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness physically present does.
I remind members again of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of Leinster House to participate in this public meeting. I will not permit a member to participate where he or she is not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Any member who attempts to participate from outside the precincts will be asked to leave the meeting.
I ask members and witnesses to identify themselves when contributing to the debate for the benefit of the Debates Office staff who are preparing the Official Report. I ask members and witnesses to mute their microphones when not contributing in order to reduce background noise and feedback. I ask that they use their raise hand buttons when they wish to make a contribution. I also remind them to ensure that their mobile phones are on silent mode or switched off.
With all that housekeeping out of the way, I am delighted to get to the most important aspect of today's meeting, namely, the contributions from our witnesses. I ask Mr. Finn, CEO of IMRO, to make his opening statement.