Business of Joint Committee

Apologies have been received from Senator Denis Landy, from Deputies Maureen O'Sullivan and Brendan Smith, who are on Oireachtas business, Deputy Tony McLoughlin, Mr. Paul Maskey, MP, and Mr. Chris Hazzard, MP. I did not receive any other apologies, but I spoke to a number of members today, and there may be people coming in and going out. Again, my apologies for the late start. Part of the difficulty is that, as you know, the meetings of the Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach are going on, and there was a difficulty concerning venues.

Our meeting today is the third of a series of meetings where we will engage with groups and individuals working on legacy issues across all affected communities. In this regard, I would like to vary the agenda for today's meeting. I understand the committee generally takes minutes and correspondence in private session at the commencement of each meeting, but given our late starting hour and as a courtesy to our witnesses, who may be travelling long distances, I would like to commence in public session, and after that we can go into private session and deal with correspondences. Is that agreed? Agreed.

While we are waiting for our guests to come in, I want to say that it is a great honour for me to be appointed as Chair to this committee. I would also like to take the opportunity to formally record my appreciation of the contribution of my colleague Deputy Kathleen Funchion in her role as Chair of the committee. It is clear to me that Deputy Funchion and this committee have invested a lot of time and energy in a range of matters, in particular legacy issues, which are the subject of today's meeting, and the impact of the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. I look forward to working with you all in a spirit of partnership and co-operation. If there are issues that you want to raise, privately or publicly with me, my door is always open. I want to work with everyone. We will have plenty of time to talk about how the committee operates. If you think we can do things better, by all means come to me. We will have plenty of time to discuss it. Does anyone else want to say anything about the outgoing Chair?

I would like to put on the record that I thought the outgoing Chair was exceptional. She was very fair and she articulated the views of all on the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. I wish her every success, and I also wish you, Chairman, every success, and I look forward to our work.

I thank the Senator.