Today in Leinster House: November 15, 2011

The Dáil business this week is eaten up by the passage of four bills – three of which are longstanding – while the Seanad business is back to its relatively straightforward nature.

Here’s what will be getting business going on Tuesday.

2pm – Questions (Minister for Finance) – Given that the morning’s cabinet meeting is likely to make some tough calls about the Budget – and with some banks still refusing to pass on the ECB’s interest rate cut – the questions to Michael Noonan might be pretty interesting. The scripted missives will ask him about the motivations for making Budget adjustments of €3.8bn, whether banks can be enforced to pass on the ECB rate cuts, whether refusing to honour Anglo bonds would mean the collapse of the EU-IMF deal, and Ireland’s response to any potential resizing of the eurozone.

2pm – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – The committee week begins in Room 2, where the education committee will hear from both the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, and from members of Dáil na nÓg, on reform of the junior cycle and Junior Cert exams.

2:15pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – It’s all showbiz in Room 4. Gay Byrne is up for another term as chairman of the Road Safety Authority, and will meet with members of the transport committee who’ll press him on his plans for a second tenure. It’s not up to the committee to appoint him, though: that’s the sole responsibility of Leo Varadkar.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad kicks off with its usual 75 minutes of unscripted daily to-and-fro.

3pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – Alan Shatter guides TDs through the Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Bill 2010, which has been knocking around since the last Dáil and so will garner all-party support. The bill clarifies the extent to which residents can defend themselves and their properties from intruders without incurring a criminal penalty.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – The Dáil’s main event of the Tuesday sees Enda Kenny step up for the usual session of grenade-trading with Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and the technical group.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Once the theatrics of LQs are dealt with, ministers discuss the more sedate matters of the planned creation of a Cabinet Office, plans to review the Programme for Government, proposed legislation on cabinet confidentiality, and meetings with the social partners.

3:45pm – Nurses and Midwives Bill 2010 (second stage) – Having cleared the Dáil, the Seanad gets its first look at legislation to officially merge An Bord Altranais and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs settle down to agree upon the agenda for the rest of the day, in a 30-minute window that will no doubt see opposition TDs seek updates on the progress of other legislation.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – The daily oversubscribed session of topical issues will see four TDs get the chance to press ministers on matters they deem important.

5:45pm – Statements on the recent ECB interest rate reduction – Continuing what’s turning into a financially-themed day, Senators hold an hour-long debate on the ECB’s 0.25% cut to the interest rate, and (undoubtedly) the refusals of some of the banks to pass on the cuts to mortgage holders.

5:54pm – Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (second stage); Statements re Report by the Interdepartmental Group on Mortgage Arrears (resumed) – Two items to take up Dáil time before Private Members’ Time: a quick look at the Dormant Accounts Bill, which disbands the Dormant Accounts Board and gives its power to the Minister for the Environment; that, being a quick piece of legislation, should then leave some time for TDs to continue their discussions of the Keane Report.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Technical Group] – This week’s opposition time falls to the Technical Group, for whom Maureen O’Sullivan has drafted a wide-ranging motion on mental health policy. Among the measures it calls for are: the ring-fencing of mental health funding in the budget; the provision which it makes it illegal for someone to undergo electro-shock therapy without their consent; “the reduction, and eventual elimination, of the use of stereotypical language in relation to mental health”; recognition of mental health needs among asylum seekers; and appropriate mental health services for the prison population. Debate continues until 9pm.

All of the day’s business can be viewed on the streams: