Today in Leinster House: October 20, 2011

Today it’s the Seanad which is eaten up with legislation, while there are other miscellaneous bits elsewhere.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Thursdays begin as they usually do – with the Public Accounts committee having a closer look at the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General. Today the main topic is financial governance. Room 1.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore takes the Thursday round of leaders’ questions from Mary Lou McDonald, Eamon O Cuiv and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – Upstairs, members will begin the daily discussion on whatever they’d like to the discuss in the 75-minute free-for-all.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs have a quick look at the day’s agenda, which today shouldn’t take long.

11:11am – Statements re Report by Interdepartmental Working Group on Mortgage Arrears (resumed); Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) - The main chunk of the Dáil’s day is taken by these two items: a final chance for TDs to make statements on the report on mortgage arrears. Once that’s done, they’ll get back to discussing the housekeeping bill which ensures that staff moved between ESB, Bord Gais and Eirgrid can retain their pensions.

11:30am – Health and Children – In room 2, the committee continues a series of hearings about the current shortage of junior doctors, with staff from the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Hospital Consultants Association.

11:45am – Road Traffic (No.2) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (Dáil amendments), Dormant Accounts Bill 2011 [Seanad] (to conclude) – The Seanad’s day is spent wrapping up two longstanding pieces of legislation: rubberstamping the Dáil’s amendments to new blood-alcohol limits (including a motion for Mrs McAleese’s early signature), and then the final look at the Dormant Accounts Bill which allows the Minister for the Environment to make certain use of funds left in empty accounts.

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.

2:30pm – Foreign Affairs & Trade – In Room 4, members have their usual Thursday get-together to examine some new EU legislative proposals.

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

3:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Similarly upstairs, three items of importance get an airing before the Seanad wraps up for the week.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government) – ‘Big’ Phil Hogan is up to the plate to answer some scripted questions, on topics including a review of commercial rates, inclusion criteria for local authority housing lists, the merger of Waterford’s city and county councils, financial grants for homes needing to upgrade their septic tanks, and what he can do to support the residents of Priory Hall.

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