Fiscal Assessment Report November 2013: Discussion with Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Debate

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Fiscal Assessment Report November 2013: Discussion with Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Acting Chairman (Deputy Dara Murphy): Information on Dara Murphy Zoom on Dara Murphy I welcome the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council members to our meeting, Professor John McHale, chairman, and Professor Alan Barrett, Mr. Sebastian Barnes, Dr. Donal Donovan and Dr. Róisín O'Sullivan, council members. I also welcome Mr. Diarmaid Smyth, chief economist, Mr. John Howlin and Ms Rachel Joyce. We will begin with opening remarks by Professor McHale and committee members will then address questions to him. We will try to keep questions as concise as possible so as to allow as many questions as possible. I remind witnesses, members and those in the public Gallery to turn off their mobile phones.
  I advise witnesses 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 it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and 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 asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against a person or an 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 by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
  I now invite Professor McHale to make his opening remarks.

Professor John McHale: It is a pleasure to be here. On behalf of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, I thank the committee for providing us with this opportunity to discuss our most recent assessment. The council views interactions with this committee as integral to its work and considers they have proven to be extremely valuable. Other members in attendance with me today are Mr. Sebastian Barnes, Professor Alan Barrett, Dr. Donal Donovan and Dr. Róisín O'Sullivan. The council secretariat is also present: Ms Rachel Joyce, Mr John Howlin and Mr Diarmaid Smyth, head of the secretariat and chief economist.

Today, I will cover our fifth assessment report, which was published on 22 November. The report is written in line with the mandate of the council set out in the Fiscal Responsibility Acts 2012 and 2013 and also with the memorandum of understanding between the council and the Department of Finance.


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