Apologies have been received from Senators Mullen, Black and Ó Donnghaile, Deputy Carroll MacNeill, Dr. Stephen Farry, Ms Claire Hanna and Mr. John Finucane.
As usual, I propose to call members in the following rotation order and time limits, repeating as time allows: the first 15 minutes will be Sinn Féin, followed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, SDLP, Alliance, Independents, Aontú, and then Sinn Féin, Labour and the Green Party. That rota is agreed.
The next generation of political representatives in Northern Ireland are here and I am delighted that they are present. Representatives from the Alliance Party, the Green Party, People Before Profit, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party, UUP, and the Democratic Unionist Party, DUP, were all invited. I welcome Ryan Carlin of Sinn Féin from Lisburn City and Castlereagh City Council; Séamas de Faoite of the SDLP from Belfast City Council; Sorcha Eastwood of the Alliance Party from Lisburn City and Castlereagh City Council; Áine Groogan of the Green Party from Belfast City Council; and Stuart Hughes of the UUP from Lisburn City and Castlereagh City Council. It is good to see so many young and eager faces. We look forward to engaging with them and hearing their views on what the future holds for all of us, particularly their generation.
I must read a note about privilege. The evidence of witnesses physically present from within the parliamentary precincts is protected, pursuant to both the Constitution and statute, by absolute privilege. However, witnesses and participants who are to give evidence from a location outside the parliamentary precincts are asked to note that they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings that a witness giving evidence from within the parliamentary precincts does and may consider it appropriate to take legal advice on this matter. Witnesses are also asked to note that only evidence connected with the subject matter of the proceedings should be given. They should respect directions given by the Chair and the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should neither criticise nor make charges against any person, persons 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 person's or entity's good name.
I call on the witnesses to give their opening statements and I ask them to limit those statements to three minutes each. I want to be as flexible as possible. During the question-and-answer session, they will have ample opportunity to expand on all the issues they would like us to consider. The clerk to the committee has selected the witnesses to speak in alphabetical order. They can blame him if he made a mistake here.
I know how important the order is. I will call Mr. Carlin, Mr. de Faoite, Ms Eastwood, Ms Groogan and Mr. Hughes. After that we will have the party rotation for questions.