Apologies have been received from Senator Craughwell. The purpose of our meeting is to continue our pre-legislative scrutiny of the general scheme of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019. On behalf of the committee I welcome to today's meeting the Minister for Transport and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Deputy Ryan. His officials, Mr. Ray O’Leary, assistant secretary, Ms Mary Lally, principal officer, Mr. Ross Hattaway, principal officer and Mr. Oisín Timoney, assistant principal are all most welcome.
I will now read the note on 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 the person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory in relation to an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that they comply with any such direction. For witnesses who are attending remotely from outside of the Leinster House campus, there are some limitations to parliamentary privilege. As such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness who is physically present does. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside of the State are advised that they should also be mindful of their domestic law and how it may apply to the evidence that they give.
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 of 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 members must be physically present within the confines of the place which Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House and-or the Convention Centre Dublin, in order to participate in public meetings. I will not permit members to participate where they are not adhering to this constitutional requirement. Therefore, any member who attempts to participate from outside of the precincts will reluctantly be asked to leave the meeting. In this regard, I ask members partaking via Microsoft Teams that, prior to making their contribution to the meeting, they confirm that they are on the grounds of Leinster House campus. For anyone watching this meeting online, Oireachtas Members and witnesses are accessing this meeting remotely. Only I, as Chair, and the necessary staff essential to running the meeting are present in the committee room. Due to these unprecedented circumstances, and the large number of people attending the meeting remotely, I ask for everyone's forbearance should any technical issues arise.
I now call on the Minister to make his opening statement. He will appreciate that we are confined to two hours. I know he has quite a long statement. He might, in his own way, perhaps give an abridged version of his large opening statement. We will cover the main points and then we can get into questioning.