Today in Leinster House: September 29, 2011

A few interesting things coming up at committee level today, while the houses themselves finish up their consideration of some leftover legislation…

10am – Public Accounts Committee – Thursdays begin, as Thursdays are wont to do, with the Public Accounts Committee meeting in Room 1 to have a look at the Comptroller & Auditor General’s annual report for 2009. Today their magnifying glasses examine HSE and healthcare spending.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – The Dáil’s marquee event will see Eamon Gilmore returning after a week-long absence (he missed last week’s slot to attend the UN General Assembly), to bat away at whatever curveballs the opposition fire at him.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day begins, meanwhile, with its usual 75-minute session of free-to-air discussions.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs have a chat about what’s coming up, when it’s coming up, and why it’s not coming up sooner.

11:11am – Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill 2011 (second stage); National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2011 (second stage) – The Dáil finishes up having a look at the Veterinary bill, which allows non-vets to perform certain routine procedures on animals, before getting back to its discussion on expanding the role of Bord Fáilte to promote enterprise.

11:30am – Health and Children – The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, Kathleen Lynch TD, visits Room 2 to brief the committee on her policy priorities.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – Having had a similar briefing from a Croatian visitor earlier this week, the committee gets the thoughts of Jelena Milic of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, who will brief members on Serbia’s progress in gaining accession to the EU.

11:45am – Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2011 (to conclude) – The Seanad finishes up its examination of the new bill which lowers the permitted blood-alcohol levels among drivers.

1:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Four more matters to be mentioned before the Seanad wraps up for the week.

2pm – Finance (sub-committee) – Michael Noonan sits in to guide members through the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) (No.2) Bill 2011, which updates and expands the powers granted in the original Credit Institutions Act brought forward earlier this year by Brian Lenihan. Room 4.

2:30pm – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – In Room 3, meanwhile, members get together to discuss how they can match the skills of third-level graduates with the need of industry, before hearing a report on the level of US foreign direct investment in Ireland.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Before the last batch of ministerial questions, there’s time for four more issues of the day, each of which will get 12 minutes worth of attention and the thoughts of a minister.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport) – With neither his new Dublin jersey nor the Solheim Cup trophy for company, Leo Varadkar takes a batch of parliamentary questions tabled by the opposition folk. Among the questions: the future of Ireland’s airports, the prospect of a DART line to the airport, cuts to Dublin Bus’s core funding and construction of a motorway in Wexford.

Questions cease at 5:45pm when the houses shut down after another lengthy week.

As always, all of the day’s business can be viewed on the streams: