Apologies have been received from Deputies Matthews and Duncan Smith and Senator Craughwell. The purpose of this meeting is to engage with the chairperson designate of the Port of Cork to discuss his strategic priorities in his role and his views on the challenges facing the organisation. On behalf of the committee, I welcome Mr. Michael Walsh, chairperson designate, and Mr. Donal Crowley, company secretary.
Witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect 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. If a statement is potentially inflammatory in relation to an identifiable person or entity, the witness will be directed to discontinue his or her remarks. It is imperative that witnesses comply with any such direction. There are some limitations to parliamentary privilege for witnesses attending remotely from outside the Leinster House campus. They may not benefit from the same level of immunity to legal proceedings that a witness physically present does. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State are advised that they should also be mindful of 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 the House or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
For anyone watching this meeting, members and witnesses now have the option of being physically present in the committee or to join the meeting remotely via Microsoft Teams. I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the Leinster House complex in order to participate in public meetings. Reluctantly, 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 the precincts will reluctantly be asked to leave the meeting. In this regard, I would ask any member partaking via Microsoft Teams, prior to making his or her contribution to the meeting, to confirm that he or she is on the grounds of the Leinster House campus. If attending in the committee room, people are asked to exercise personal responsibility to protect themselves and others from the risk of contracting Covid-19. I strongly advise the practising of good hand hygiene and that people leave at least one vacant seat between them and others in attendance. People should also always maintain an appropriate level of social distancing during and after the meeting. Masks should be worn at all times during the meeting except when speaking.
I apologise to Mr. Walsh for the delay. He is most welcome, and I ask him to make his opening statement.