Today in Leinster House: November 22, 2011

The Dáil week is largely dominated by polishing off older legislation, but there are nonetheless some interesting exchanges in store across the board.

Here’s Tuesday’s kickoff:

12:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad kicks off unusually early with its daily 75-minute of banter – though never fear, because once the agenda is agreed upon, the house goes back into recess for two hours.

2pm – Questions (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) – With the political focus on rumours about the 2012 Budget, Richard Bruton – whose department will almost surely be immune from most of the slashing – should get off reasonably lightly. In his scripted questions, he’ll answer probes on exports to BRIC countries, upward-only rent reviews, the job schemes he proposes to bring in over the lifetime of the government, the credit shortfall, and the 20% unemployment rate in Co Kerry.

2pm – Education and Skills (sub-committee) – The committee week begins in Room 2, where the education sub-committee will hear from the Chief Executive and Education Officers’ Association (CEEOA), the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA), and the Adult Education Officers’ Association (AEOA). Each will offer feedback on the draft heads of the forhcoming Education and Training Boards Bill.

2pm – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – In Room 3, meanwhile, it’s another session discussing one of the hot topics of the current Dáil: oil and gas. The Irish Offshore Operators’ Association will discuss the potential for offshore exploration, before SIPTU’s Oil and Gas Review Group presents a document on optimising the resources we already have.

2:15pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – Figures from the Consumers’ Association of Ireland, IBEC and Chambers Ireland pop into room 4 to discuss the cost to consumers of the upkeep of a water supply and the disposal of waste water.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – The Dáil’s main event will see Enda Kenny fending off the usual three-pronged attacks from Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and the technical group.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Once the bluster of that is over, Kenny will answer more formal questions on making Ireland a ‘global centre of excellence for carbon’, his meeting with Angela Merkel, potential bilateral meetings with Nicolas Sarkozy, whether he’s been in touch with the new premiers of Greece and Italy, and current plans for the constitutional convention.

3:45pm – Statements and Q&A on Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 – Brendan Howlin is among the main ministers at the centre of the Budget rumours – so he may well relish a chance to pop upstairs for two hours and listen to statements on the government’s infrastructure plans, announced three weeks ago.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs settle down to agree upon the agenda for the rest of the day, while some (no doubt) will irk the Ceann Comhairle by trying to sneak in a political statement.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – The daily chatter on topical issues sees four ministers held to account by backbench TDs on matters of their choosing.

5:30pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad holds a similar session of its own – discussing three of the day’s burning issues – before calling it a night.

5:54pm – Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009 [Seanad] (to conclude), National Tourism Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2011 (to conclude) – Two items of legislation are polished off before 7:30pm – the first a long-running bill which will create a Property Services Regulatory Authority, to oversee the management of residential property service providers; the second allows additional funding to Fáilte Ireland so that it can also seek to promote inward investment and the likes.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – This week’s private motion comes from Fianna Fáil, who note that commercial enterprises are having a particularly tough time at the moment – therefore seeking that commercial rates not be raised this year, and for the Government to commit to a full review of rates for next year. No doubt – not wanting to be tied into making decisions ahead of the Budget – the ruling side will have an amendment to propose, but the vote on that won’t happen until tomorrow.

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