I thank the members and the witnesses for participating in today's committee meeting in line with exceptional circumstances and measures we have to take, all for Covid-19. I remind them that apart from me and members of the committee secretariat, all members and witnesses are required to participate remotely and all members are required to participate from within the Leinster House complex only.
Today we will give consideration to the draft Protection of Young Persons (Employment) (Exclusion of Workers in the Fishing and Shipping Sectors) Regulations 2021. These draft regulations are required to complement the full transposition of EU Directive 2017/159 on the implementation of the social partners agreement on the Work in Fishing Convention. The directive is primarily a matter for the Department of Transport. However, certain requirements of the directive require sectoral amendments to the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 to ensure full implementation of said directive. The draft regulations have been referred to the committee for consideration, after which the committee is required to report back to the Dáil and to the Seanad. I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy English, to assist the committee in consideration in this matter today.
Before we start, I wish to explain some limitations to parliamentary privilege and to the practice of the Houses as regards reference the Minister of State may make to other persons in his evidence. The evidence of witnesses physically present or who give evidence from within the parliamentary precincts is protected by absolute privilege, pursuant to both the Constitution and statute. Today's witness, however, is giving his evidence remotely from a place outside of the parliamentary precincts and, as such, may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness who is physically present.
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 a person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory regarding an identifiable person, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that they comply with any such direction.
The opening statement has already been circulated to all the members. We will commence our consideration of this matter now. I invite the Minister of State, Deputy English, to make his opening remarks.