Today in Leinster House: December 15, 2011

It’s another busy day in Leinster House today, with a packed committee schedule and important legislation in either house…

10:00am – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In the first of two meetings today – and in two 50-minute sub-sections – members get to meet the incoming chairmen of two of Ireland’s port authorities. At 9:30am they meet Denis Moynihan, the incoming chairman of the Drogheda Port Company, while at 10:20am they meet his equivalent at Shannon Foynes Port Company, Michael Collins. Room 2.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – In the usual Thursday heads-up in Room 1, members cast their eyes on the partnership arrangements of the health services. The HSE chief executive Cathal Magee will be on hand, as well as the secretaries-general from the Department of Health, Michael Scanlan, and the Department of the Environment Robert Watt.

10:00am – European Union Affairs – In a curiously-timed meeting, the Department of the Taoiseach’s second secretary Geraldine Byrne Nason briefs members on the content of Herman van Rompuy’s proposals for common European financial governance – the document which was essentially torn to shreds in last week’s Brussels summit – before representatives from IBEC, SFA and ISME discuss the stability policies provided for in the Roadmap to Stability and Growth.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore takes the Thursday batch of questions from Éamon Ó Cuív, Mary Lou McDonald and the representatives of the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – Senators begin their simple day with a 75-minute open forum.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs ratify the day’s proposed agenda, and query the status of legislation in the pipeline.

11:00am – Investigations, Oversight & Petitions – In its first public meeting after the defeat of the Oireachtas inquiries referendum, members get together to ask: what now? They will discuss matters relevant to their terms of reference.

11:11am – Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Bill 2011 (Seanad amendments) – Wrapping up the legislation cutting judges’ pay, the Dáil has a quick look at procedural amendments adopted by the Seanad in the legislation which allows for cuts to judges’ pay (as is permitted under the 29th Amendment to the Constitution).

11:30am – Health and Children – Continuing its mammoth hearings on alcohol marketing, over in Room 2, members hear from Retail Ireland and the Ballymun Youth Action Project.

11:45am – Social Welfare Bill 2011 (to conclude) – The Seanad signs off on the Budget’s social welfare provisions in a three-hour debate. A final vote is taken at 3pm.

12:00pm (approx) – Nurses and Midwifes Bill 2010 (Seanad amendments) – Whenever the amendments on the Judges’ Pay legislation has been finalised, TDs take a similar look at Seanad amendments to the Bill which formally merges the authorities overseeing nursing and midwifery in Ireland.

12:30pm (approx) – Bretton Woods Agreement (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2011 (second stage) – A relatively low-profile Bill with a high-profile impact: this Bill, while also seeing Ireland approve some IMF’s management rejiggery, would also upgrade Ireland’s membership of the IMF and entitle it to a lower interest rate on its borrowing.

2:45pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In its second meeting of the day, back in Room 2, members look at new EU legislative proposals before hearing from minister Phil Hogan on the government’s Climate Change policy and the forthcoming meeting of EU environment ministers.

3:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad wraps up its straightforward day with discussion on topical issues…

3:42pm – Topical Issues – …before TDs discuss four of their own similar issues of importance.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Children & Youth Affairs) – Frances Fitzgerald takes the last batch of ministerial questions for the week, answering missives on a potential State investigation into clerical abuse, foster care in Dublin, HIQA reports into the Gleann Álainn, Coovagh House and Ballydowd special care units, and the Budget’s impact on the Child and Family Support Agency.

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