Today in Leinster House: July 19, 2011

Starting this week – and, well, it’ll only be this week because the houses are on recess from next week – I’m trying an experiment where instead of one catch-all post with the week’s events, I’m going to do a more daily digest of what’s going on in Leinster House.

(Also, while I’m here, apologies I didn’t get a post up last week – it was a hectic one…)

The parliamentary week kicks off at 9:30am as the Justice, Defence and Equality committee meets with junior minister Kathleen Lynch to go through the committee stage of the Criminal Justice (Community Service) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2011. This should be fairly routine given that most of the amendments are housekeeping measures proposed by Alan Shatter himself.

At 1:30pm, meanwhile, the Committee on Health and Children meets to approve some budget votes (details unavailable at the time of writing, sadly) and at 2:30pm the Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht committee will have the CEO of Bord na Móna, Gabriel Darcy, in to talk about clean energy.

At the same time, the Seanad will be dealing with its Order of Business and the Dáil will get into its first batch of Questions to the Taoiseach (again, no details to hand) of the week. Richard Bruton takes questions of his own at 3:15pm, where he’ll face questions on matters as diverse as departmental jobs, meetings with communications trade unions, and the dangers of cords dangling from blinds.

At 3:30pm, meanwhile, the Justice committee meets for the second time of the day, this time to discuss EU proposals for a charter on the rights of crime victims, new developments in EU law, and a proposal that the EU and Australia should share air passenger details with each other. While all of this is going on, meanwhile, the Seanad moves on at 3:45pm to its final stages of the Finance (No.3) Bill 2011, finally giving tax equality to same-sex couples.

Back downstairs, the Dáil gets to Leaders’ Questions at 4:15pm, the Order of Business at 4:36pm and should get to the final stages of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2011 by 5pm. This bill gives effect to Phil Hogan’s proposals on establishing a Constituency Commission that will slim down the number of TDs – but it also to be passed before the summer because it also limits spending in the presidential election.

In the meantime, the Seanad gets to the Residential Institutions Redress (Amendment) Bill 2011 at 5:45pm. This Bill, which made it through the Dáil last week, will close the window for applying for legal redress under the residential institutions debacle of a decade ago.

At 6pm the Dáil moves onward again, spending what should be its last session of the Communications Regulation (Postal Service) Bill 2010 – yes, it’s that legislation that gives Ireland postcodes! Or at least, it will allow the Minister for Communications to consider giving Ireland postcodes. There’s also other miscellaneous provisions about ensuring a universal postal service. Discussion on this will occupy the rest of the day, save for 90 minutes beginning at 7pm – when private members’ business gives Fianna Fáil’s yet-to-be-published Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2011 its first airing. Whenever the Dáil finishes the Postal Service bill then it’ll get to Matters on the Adjournment before calling it a day.

Back in the Seanad, 8:30am brings the miscellaneous Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009, with the Seanad also getting to its adjournment matters at 10pm.

As always, all of the week’s business can be viewed on our live Dáil and live Seanad streams. Links to the live streams of each committee meeting can be found by clicking into the details of that meeting on our interactive Committees calendar.