On behalf of the committee, I would like to welcome Mr. Eamonn O'Reilly, chief executive of the Dublin Port Company and Mr. Michael Sheary, company secretary and chief financial officer of the Dublin Port Company. I also welcome Mr. Glenn Carr, general manager of Rosslare Europort, Mr. Barry Kenny, corporate communications manager of Iarnród Éireann and Mr. Pat Keating, chief executive of Shannon Foynes Port Company. Witnesses representing the Port of Cork are attending virtually. From this quarter I welcome Mr. Eoin McGettigan, CEO, Mr. Conor Mowlds, chief commercial officer, and Mr. Donal Crowley, company secretary and chief financial officer.
I draw the attention of witnesses to the fact that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to a qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and they are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person, persons or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.
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 witnesses attending remotely there are some limitations on parliamentary privilege. Such witnesses may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as witnesses who are physically present. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside the State are advised that they should be mindful of their domestic law and how it may apply to the evidence they give.
I advise the witnesses that we are limited to an hour and a half. I ask them to summarise their statements and confine them to four minutes. I apologise for these limitations, which have been caused by Brexit exigencies.