Business of Select Committee

Could members please turn off their phones as they cause interference even if on silent mode? Before we commence our consideration of the Mediation Bill 2017, I wish to notify members that we have one item to discuss in private session at the end of this meeting when the Minister leaves. I ask members to stay for that brief consideration.

Today's meeting of the Select Committee on Justice and Equality has been convened to consider Committee Stage of the Mediation Bill 2017. I welcome the new Minister for Justice, Deputy Charles Flanagan, and offer congratulations to him on his new portfolio appointment and responsibility. I also welcome his officials. I understand the Minister must leave early and will be replaced in the course of our deliberations by the Minister of State, Deputy John Paul Phelan. That was flagged to me earlier, but I am unsure if that is still the case.

We will proceed to the consideration of the Bill. Does the Minister wish to say a few words?

I am keen to facilitate the committee under the Chairman's direction. I am in his hands on all occasions at which I attend here as Minister. I wish to acknowledge the importance of this committee. In my previous ministerial iteration or guise, I always acknowledged the importance of the appropriate committees and those committees would have acknowledged that we worked in a mutual manner. I hope the Chairman's committee and I will have a similarly positive and constructive relationship. I am happy to be here and I am happy at all times to engage with the committee.

I am keen to proceed with this Bill which I know is one of urgency for the committee. I have a busy schedule and I note what the Chairman said about the Minister of State, Deputy Phelan. I understand the Chairman is allowing me some respite to attend the plenary session of the Dáil for the Judicial Appointments Bill and I am due back this afternoon on another important issue. I hope we can proceed with as many of these amendments as possible in the timeframe envisaged.

Thank you, Minister. It would be remiss of me not to take the opportunity to thank the former Minister for Justice and Equality for her engagement with the committee during her tenure and to wish her well in her new area of responsibility as Tánaiste and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.