Mholfainn do chomhaltaí a gcuid guthán póca a mhúchadh mar go gcuireann siad isteach ar chóras fuaime agus craolacháin an choiste. I advise members to turn off their mobile phones as they interfere with the broadcasting equipment in a way that affects the sound quality of the recording of the debate.
Inniu, déanfaimid plé leis an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta maidir leis na Meastacháin atá i Vóta 33 – Ealaíon, Oidhreacht, Gnóthaí Réigiúnacha, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta. Today we will discuss with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht the mid-year review of the Estimates for Public Services 2017: Vote 33 - Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. I extend a warm welcome to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Humphreys, and the Minister of State, Deputy McHugh, and look forward to engaging with them.
Before I ask the Minister to address the committee, I wish to draw her attention 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 in respect of a particular matter and they continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to 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 or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. The opening statement and any other documents the witness has submitted to the committee may be published on the committee website after this meeting. Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against persons outside the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.