Today in Leinster House: November 10, 2011

Today most eyes will be on the government’s press conference (at noon, on this stream) where details of which infrastructure projects are being carried through, and which are being shelved, will be revealed.

In the meantime, another batch of committee meetings offering the main parliamentary meat of the day…

10am – Public Accounts Committee – Thursdays begin as they usually do – with the Public Accounts committee putting the C&AG report under scrutiny in Room 1. This week they’re looking at sports spending, and in particular the spending of National Sports Campus Ireland (that, fact fans, is one of the State Boards upon which Mary Davis sits).

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore takes the usual Thursday batch of leaders questions from the opposition sides – which, as is becoming traditional, will be led by Eamon O Cuiv and Mary Lou McDonald.

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 – Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed); Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed); Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) – The first two of these three bills are left on the programme from yesterday, so in case neither has been finished (though both probably ought to be) there’ll be a last chance to wrap up on each. The first increases penalties for anti-competitive business behaviour; the second safeguards the pensions built up by ESB staff moving to Eirgrid. The third relaxes the current rules which limit the number of GPs offering free treatment to medical card holders and the like.

l11:30am – European Union Affairs; Foreign Affairs and Trade [joint sitting] – In the first joint sitting of any committees since the general election, members convene in Room 3 to hear Lucinda Creighton brief them on the recent meeting of the EU General Affairs and Foreign Affairs Councils. After she’s done, the EU Affairs committee meets in private session.

11:30am – Health and Children – In room 2, members resume their discussions on alcohol marketing – this time hearing input from the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland and Alcohol Action Ireland.

11:45am – Private Members’ Business [Labour]: Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2011 – Seanad rules do not formally acknowledge memberships of political parties – it only acknowledges ‘government’ business when it is moved by the Leader of the House – so oddly enough this week’s PMB falls to a government party. The Labour senators will move an amendment to the Civil Partnership Act.

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

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

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade) – Having already taken Leaders’ Questions, Eamon Gilmore returns to answer questions on his ministerial brief, which will include missives on when Iran, East Timor and the Holy See were told about the embassy closures, the human rights implications of trade agreements between Colombia and Peru, the role TDs can play in helping to meet UN Millennium Goals, and how he can help to put political pressure on the US to support a Palestinian state.

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