Today in Leinster House: December 7, 2011

The committees will spend today brushing through some important procedural pieces, while the Dáil spends its day discussing the Budget and the Seanad gets on with the legislative business.

Here’s what’s happening this wintry Wednesday.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – The day begins in Room 3 with the usual meeting of the jobs committee; today they’ll be joined by reps from Coder Dojo to discuss plans on improving ICT teaching in secondary schools, and particularly on putting programming and coding onto the second-level curriculum.

9:30am – Environment, Community and Local Government (sub-committee) – A quick meeting over in Room 4, NewERA minister Fergus O’Dowd guides TDs through a revision to the 2011 Budget (yes, the 2011 Budget!) on increasing funding for the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny steps up to bat for the first time since the Budget was announced, taking questions from Micheal Martin, Gerry Adams and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – Upstairs, meanwhile, business gets back to the more routine tried-and-tested formula – beginning with a 75-minute open forum before dedicating itself to legislative business.

10:51am – Order of Business – A quick open discussion on the Dáil’s agenda for the day, which ought not to take very long given how straightforward the day’s proceedings at set to be.

11:21am – Budget Statements by Leaders – The main event of the day, where Messrs Kenny, Martin and Adams – plus the rostered head of the technical group – make their first full statements on the content of yesterday’s Budget.

11:30am – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – Room 1 will see officials from Pat Rabbitte’s Department of Communications talk members through an EU legislative proposal – enforcing mandatory rules for energy efficiency.

11:45am – Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Bill 2011 (all stages) – The Seanad spends its lunchtime dealing with the legislation to reduce judges’ pay, which cleared the Dáil last week. The constitutional amendment passed in October required that any cuts to judicial salaries be made only when in the public interest. The legislation is so named so as to make sure this provision is satisfied.

1:30pm – Statements on Budget 2012 – With the party leaders having had their say, attention turns to the rest of the Dáil, who will spend the day allowing backbenchers, opposition and independents to comment on the government’s proposals.

1:30pm – Health (sub-committee) – Continuing the theme from earlier today, a committee meets to approve an amendment to Budget 2011 (yes, that’s last year’s one). Members convene in Room 4 to vote on an amended Budget allocation for the HSE – allowing the agency to pay staff expenses as they fall due.

2:30pm – Justice, Defence and Equality – In Room 2, Alan Shatter sits in as members formally ratify the appointment of a new Garda Ombudsman commission.

2:30pm – Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (sub-committee) – With the legislation already having cleared the Dáil, Pat Rabbitte guides the committee through the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 – a housekeeping bill which, among other things, ensures that staff moving between ESB and Eirgrid do not lose their pension entitlements. Room 1.

3:30pm – Local Government (Household Charge) Bill 2011 (committee stage) – Yesterday the Seanad approved the first leg of legislation to bring in the Budget’s €100 household charge. Today it will spend 90 minutes going through any proposed amendments; the final bill will be returned to again tomorrow.

5:00pm – Matters on the adjournment – Having dealt with the legislative business, three topical issues are discussed before the lights are turned out for the night.

7:00pm – Statements on Budget 2012 – The Dáil’s statements on the Budget take a half-hour break at 6:30pm, but will continue from 7 until 10:30pm.

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