Today in Leinster House: July 26, 2011

They think it’s all over… it’s not quite just yet. The Seanad is getting two longer days of action this week – a chance to flourish while the big boys have gone home – while there’s also a few committees in play, including one meeting in the Dáil chamber itself.

So… four months down, one week to go.

10:30am – Order of Business – With no eyes on the downstairs chamber, the Seanad begins its daily session of ‘I want a debate on _____, but I also want a debate on _____’. Knowing that there are no eyeballs elsewhere, some random fireballs may be fired.

11:45am – Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011, second stage - The Seanad gets its first look at Phil Hogan’s bill which reforms carbon levies and generally tries to scrub up the law. That’ll bring the house to 1:30pm and lunch.

2:15pm – Criminal Justice Bill 2011, second stage – Alan Shatter walks the house through his bill to tackle white collar crime, including including a clause that will make it illegal to report certain white-collar crimes when they’re known to a third party. The bill also allows Gardaí to split up the number of hours for which they can detain an arrested person – so, if Gardaí can question someone for 24 hours, this can now be split into three days of eight hours.

2:30pm – JOC on Foreign Affairs and Trade – In an emergency meeting, members meet the chief executives of Concern, Trocaire and Oxfam to discuss what Ireland can do to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa.

2:30pm – JOC on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – The committee meets the chairman-designate of the National Concert Hall, Kieran Tobin, before some head honchos from Ireland’s transport authority try to outline a draft transport strategy for Greater Dublin.

3:30pm – Members Interests of Seanad Éireann – meets in private. Boo!

4:00pm – JOC on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – In another sign of the government’s parliamentary reforms, the committee meets in the Dáil chamber itself where Michael Noonan will guide it through the implications of the Eurozone debt deal from last week.

4:45pm – Criminal Justice Bill 2011, committee and remaining stages – Having finished its earlier general chat, the Seanad gets into the specifics and discusses whatever amendments the opposition senators have concocted in the meantime.

6:15pm – Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Bill 2010, Dáil amendments – The lower house, how dare it, has suggested some amendments for the Seanad to incorporate into its miscellaneous postal bill. The Seanad will spend until 7:30pm considering them.

7:30pm – Criminal Justice (Community Service) (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2011, second stage – The last week of the Seanad will see the upper house finally get around to the first bill published by the new government. Alan Shatter’s bill is a clone of one left behind by Dermot Ahern, and guides judges into giving community service sentences in lieu of jail terms less than 12 months.

8:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – and four more things get discussed before the weary upper house calls it a night.

As always, the week’s business can be viewed on our live Seanad stream. 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.