This meeting has been convened in the context of the committee's pre-legislative scrutiny of the online safety and media regulation Bill. In our first session, we will meet representatives from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, IHREC. The witnesses will be joining us remotely. Unfortunately, that is how matters must be at the moment, but it is still good. I welcome Ms Sinéad Gibney, the chief commissioner of IHREC, and her commission colleague, Dr. Lucy Michael.
The format of the meeting is such that I will invite witnesses to make opening statements, which will be followed by questions from members of the committee. As the witnesses are probably aware, the committee may publish the opening statements on its website following the meeting. Before I invite them to deliver their opening statements, I remind them they have three minutes to do so.
I will set out the position on parliamentary privilege. Witnesses are reminded 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 the statements of witnesses are potentially defamatory of any identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative they comply with such directions. I have no doubt this situation will not occur. As our witnesses are attending remotely from outside the Leinster House campus, they should note there are limitations to parliamentary privilege and, as such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness who is physically present.
Members are reminded 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 him or her identifiable. I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of Leinster House or the convention centre to participate in our public meeting. I will not permit members to attend unless they are adhering to this constitutional requirement. I ask that members identify themselves when contributing for the benefit of the debates office staff preparing the Official Report and to mute their microphones when not contributing to reduce background noise and feedback. I ask that members use the raise hand button when they want to contribute. I also ask everyone joining today's meeting to ensure all mobile phones are on silent mode or switched off.
I invite Ms Gibney to make her opening statement on behalf of IHREC.