Today in Leinster House: October 13, 2011

The Seanad’s programme today is a strange one, but committees and the Dáil itself have some toothy issues to get into.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Thursdays begin as they usually do – with the Public Accounts committee putting the C&AG report under scrutiny. This week their theme is charitable donations, and army/defence force spending and pensions.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny is in Brussels, and Eamon Gilmore on a trade mission to Asia, so Brendan Howlin slips into the hot seat for LQs today.

10:30am – Order of Business – Upstairs in the Seanad, meanwhile, members will begin the daily discussion on whatever they deem worthy of parliamentary attention.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs have a quick look at the day’s agenda, which is set down into large chunks so should be relatively straightforward.

11:11am – Statements on Releasing the Value of State Assets to Help Stimulate Economic Growth - The most high-profile event of the day in the Dáil will see TDs spending over two hours discussing the hot-button topic of the sale of state assets – and the question of whether, if we sell them, we can keep the money for ourselves.

11:30am – Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – In Room 4, the committee’s first meeting sees another one of those moments that would have been inconceivable just a decade ago – the IRA’s Sean Murray, and the UDA’s Jackie McDonald, sit side by side with other community workers to discuss how the peace process can continue.

11:30am – Health and Children – In room 3, the current situation regarding junior doctors is discussed for the second week running, but members also discuss new legislative proposals from the EU.

11:45am – “The Importance of Statistics in Developing Public Policy and Planning for the Future” – The largest block of discussion in the Seanad today is the unusual topic of making sure that public policy is based on hard data. Government chief whip Paul Kehoe leads the discussion.

1:30pm – Statements on Common Agricultural Policy – The European Commission yesterday announced plans for the proposed reform of the CAP – which eats up almost half of EU spending. Simon Coveney has mixed feelings about it, and the IFA doesn’t like it at all. TDs will get a little over two hours to share their thoughts.

1:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Three items of importance get an airing before the Seanad wraps up for the week.

2:30pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – In what could well be an unusually stimulating meeting, members meet reps from the Irish Banking Officials Association to discuss how the culture in Irish banking might be changed. Room 3.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four issues of thematic importance are discussed for 12 minutes each.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Social Protection) – Joan Burton ends the Dáil week with 75 minutes of ministerial questions on matters including welfare fraud, the problems with JobBridge displacing real jobs, and rent allowance.

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