Today in Leinster House: November 24, 2011

10am – Public Accounts Committee – In its weekly Thursday kick-off, the Public Accounts Committee pulls a magnifying glass over funding for childcare, school attendance and funding for the Department of Children & Youth Affairs. Room 1.

10am – Health & Children – In room 2, meanwhile, the HSE’s chief executive Cathal Magee pops in to brief members on the agency’s progress and other general matters in healthcare.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore takes the usual Thursday batch of Leaders’ Questions from the deputy leaders of opposition parties.

10:30am – Order of Business – In the Seanad, senators begin their daily chatter on the matters deemed worthy of an airing.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs have a quick look at their day’s agenda, which ought not to be too complex given the large blocks of time assigned.

11:11am – Road Transport Bill 2011 (to conclude); Criminal Law (Defence and Dwelling) Bill 2010 (report and remaining stages); Statements re Report on Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 (resumed) – The Dáil’s day is built up of three items, all of which flow into each other.

The first is the last stage of the miscellaneous road haulage bill which began yesterday; the second is the finale of the bill which safeguards the rights of residents to fight off attackers in their home; the third simply offers TDs a chance to wax lyrical on the government’s capital expenditure plans.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – Given the ongoing furore around Kevin Cardiff’s nomination to the European Court of Auditors, this week’s session is a good one: it’s Eoin O’Shea, Ireland’s current nominee, briefing members on what exactly the court does, and its analysis of the EU budget for 2010. The meeting will also have representatives from IBEC, SFA and ISME who will offer feedback on the  ‘Roadmap to Stability and Growth”.

11:45am – Dr Mary Robinson: “The Importance of the Seanad to me in my career as a Human Rights Activist” – With the current government planning to abolish the Seanad, it seems odd that it would arrange a two-hour session where an outsider could come in and speak about its general greatness. With that person being former president – and scholar – Mary Robinson, however, the session will no doubt be an illuminating one anyway.

2:30pm – Seanad Public Consultations Committee – Continuing the theme, the Seanad chamber is handed over to a meeting of its Public Consultations Committee, which will discuss other ways in which it can involve the public in parliamentary decision-making.

2:30pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – In Room 4, members get together to examine two EU legislative proposals – the former dealing with new regulations on defining credit risk, and the latter on the supervision of credit institutions.

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

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) – Jimmy Deenihan has the formal role of wrapping up the Dáil week, with scheduled questions dealing with the impact of capital spending cuts, the impact on the Irish language from the proposed merger of the Irish Language Commissioner into the Ombudsman’s Office, the amount set aside for turf-cutters, and the running costs of Udaras na Gaeltachta.

5pm – Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (to conclude) – Having cleared the second stage last week and the committee stages yesterday, this evening the Seanad signs off on a housekeeping bill bringing Ireland into line with EU rules on water disposal and septic waste management. The bill was necessitated by an ECJ ruling which fines Ireland for not acting quicker to comply with the directive.

5:30pm – Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore sits in on committee room 4, which hosts a plenary session of the North-South Ministerial Council in an unusual public session.

6pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Three items of importance get an airing before the Seanad wraps up for the week.

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