Today in Leinster House: October 11, 2011

This week in the Oireachtas will be a varied one, with a couple of juicy committee meetings while both Houses get their way through a decent raft of legislation.

All in all, it’ll be a rammed week – so let’s start with the beginning, and outline what’s on the agenda for Tuesday.

12pm – Health and Children – The week kicks off with TCD lecturer Dr Fiona Lithander briefing committee members on the nutritional value of certain foods. Given the prospective onset of a sugar tax in the near future, the input could be important. Room 4.

1:30pm – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – In Room 3, Simon Coveney makes his first appearance in the front of his supervisory committee, briefing members on his priorities and plans as Minister of Agriculture, Marine and Food.

2pm – Questions (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) – Brendan Howlin is the first man up in the Dáil this week. He’ll be asked on his role in dealing with the Troika’s quarterly review later this month, whether he attempted to stop the bonus paid to Dermot McCarthy, and his priorities in the reform of the public sector.

2:30pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In Room 4, TDs and Senators have their second busy session in as many weeks – with local authority officials briefing members on water supplies, before a discussion on the costs of addressing the structural integrity problems in homes built using pyrite.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad gets together for 75 minutes of daily free-for-all discussions. The end of the session will see a quick housekeeping motion put through, relating to proposals for a European Account Preservation Order.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – In the main Dáil event of the day, Enda Kenny takes unscripted questions from the three opposition leaders.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Having gotten over the unscripted questions, Enda Kenny then takes scripted questions on topics including communication with trade unions and social partners, the cost of his constituency office, and his plans for marking the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

3:45pm – ‘Supporting, embedding and realising return on investment in Science, Technology and Innovation for national competitive advantage’ – Continuing a theme of broad-brush investigations, junior minister Sean Sherlock leads a two-hour chat in the Seanad.

4:36pm – Order of Business – The Dáil arranges its plan of action for the week – though with its prospective agenda being pretty straightforward, it shouldn’t take the full half-hour.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – Four prominent topics are discussed for 12 minutes apiece in the Dáil…

5:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – …while upstairs, Senators do the same thing – discussing four matters deemed important enough to talk about.

5:54pm – Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2011 (to complete); Nurses and Midwives Bill 2010 (to complete) – The Dáil concludes its examinations of two bills which have been knocking on its table since before the election – the former doing almost exactly as it suggests, the latter dealing with the merger of the regulatory councils for nursing and midwifery.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Sinn Féin] – Sinn Féin’s tri-weekly slot of private members’ time sees the party move a motion on the Community and Voluntary Sector. The motion calls on the government to reverse cutbacks to the sectors, and to establish an All-Ireland Consultative Civic Forum as outlined in the Good Friday Agreement. Debate concludes at 9pm.

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