I welcome everyone to the meeting. Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, only the clerk, support staff and I are in the committee room. Members of the committee are attending remotely from within the precincts of Leinster House. This is due to the constitutional requirement that in order to participate in public meetings, members must be physically present within the confines of the place where Parliament has chosen to sit. Unfortunately, this week we had a bit of a step backwards but hopefully this will not be for too much longer.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. Seamus McCarthy, is a permanent witness to the committee. This morning we engage with officials from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to examine the 2020 appropriation account, Vote 9 - Office of the Revenue Commissioners; account of the receipts of revenue of the State collected by the Revenue Commissioners 2020; and, from the 2020 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the accounts of the public services, chapter 12 - controls over the temporary wage subsidy scheme, and chapter 13 - Revenue's management of suspicious transactions reports. We are joined remotely from outside the precincts of Leinster House by officials from the Revenue Commissioners. In attendance are Mr. Niall Cody, Chairman, Mr. Gerry Harrahill, commissioner, and Mr. Brian Boyle, assistant secretary, all of whom are very welcome.
When we begin to engage, I ask members and witnesses to mute themselves when not contributing so that we do not pick up background noise or feedback. I remind all those attending to ensure their mobile phones are on silent mode or switched off. Before we start, I wish to explain some limitations to parliamentary privilege, and the practice of the Houses as regards references speakers may make to other persons in their evidence. The evidence of witnesses who are physically present or who give evidence from within the parliamentary precinct is protected pursuant to the constitutional statute by absolute privilege. However, today's witnesses are giving their evidence remotely from a place outside of the Leinster House precincts and as such, may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness who is physically present. Such witnesses have already been advised that they may think it appropriate to seek legal advice on this matter.
Members are reminded of the provision within Standing Order 218 that the committee shall refrain from inquiring into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government, or a Minister of the Government, or the merits of the objectives of such policies. Members are also reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice 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. To assist our broadcast and debates services, I ask members to direct their questions to a specific witness. If the question is not being directed to a specific witness, I ask that each witness state his or her name the first time he or she contributes.
I call on the Comptroller and Auditor General to make his opening statement.