I ask members to turn off their mobile phones. This is important as it causes serious problems for the broadcasting, editorial and sound staff. Members are reminded that if they speak from positions that do not have microphones their contributions cannot be included in the Official Report. This applies to the committee rooms. For the purposes of the Official Report I have been requested to identify members when they are called to speak. Members are also requested to remove their face coverings when speaking to ensure their contributions can be recorded adequately, before replacing their face coverings.
I welcome members, and the viewers who may be watching our proceedings on Oireachtas TV, to the public session of the Oireachtas Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach.
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.
Parliamentary privilege is considered to apply to the utterances of members participating online in a committee meeting when their participation is from within the parliamentary precincts. For this purpose the parliamentary precincts are considered to be the accommodation assigned to members in Leinster House, any other location in Leinster House, Leinster House 2000 or the Convention Centre, Dublin on days on which the relevant House sits there. I ask members to note that they may participate remotely in proceedings held in public only from the locations listed above as privilege for their utterances only applies when participating from these locations.
It is also important to note that in order to participate in a division in committee, members must be physically present. I request that members sit only in their permitted seats and in front of available microphones to ensure they are heard. This is important because not doing so causes serious problems for broadcasting, editorial and sound staff. I remind members to maintain social distancing at all times during and following the meeting. Members are requested to use wipes and hand sanitisers provided to clean seats and desks shared to supplement the regular sanitisation in the breaks between meetings.