At the request of the broadcasting and recording services, members are asked to ensure that for the duration of the meeting mobile telephones are turned off completely or switched to airplane, safe or flight mode depending on the device. It is not sufficient to put them in silent mode as this will maintain interference with the broadcasting system. In accordance with standard procedures agreed by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges for paperless committees, all documentation for the meeting has been circulated to members on the document database. Senator Boyhan is running a little late and will be with us shortly.
The first item on the agenda is detailed scrutiny of the Electoral (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 2014. We will have two sessions today and our private session will be held at the end of the two sessions. In the first session we are considering Deputy Ó Cuív's Bill. The Bill was referred to the committee for consideration at today's meeting. Deputy Ó Cuív has indicated that he wishes to present in Irish and translation is available for members if required. I welcome Deputy Ó Cuív.
Before we begin I draw 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 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 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 Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.