Today in Leinster House: January 11, 2012

The first full day’s business of 2012 is not chock-a-block, but there’s nonetheless a few interesting bits and pieces littering the agenda.

It might be noted that there are over half a dozen committee meetings today, but almost all of them are meeting in private session to get on top of their 2012 agendas.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – Kicking off in Room 3, members discuss four European legislative proposals – including a formal list of criteria to be observed by publicly listed companies, a standardised code for financial statements, an amendment to import-export legislation and a consumer programme. After that, they’ll hear from IBEC on plans to stimulate domestic consumer demand and to create jobs in domestic sectors.

10:30am – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In Room 4, Ciaran Lynch’s committee holds its second meeting of the week – this time meeting the incoming chairman of the Dublin Airport Authority, Pádraig Ó Ríordáin.

2:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – What will probably be the day’s marquee event takes place in Room 4, where Revenue Commissioners chairwoman Josephine Feehily and officials from the Department of Social Protection explain the circumstances surrounding how 115,000 pensioners were told last week that they could face extra tax bills.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Health) – In the first Dáil business of 2012, Health minister James Reilly takes scheduled questions on the number of people who may have to drop private health insurance, the HSE service plan for 2012, the impact of budget cuts and the wages paid to senior HSE staff.

2:30pm – Order of Business – Upstairs, meanwhile, the Seanad kicks off its year in precisely the way it will mean to go on – by opening its day with 75 minutes of free-for-all blather on matters arising over the break.

3:45pm – Statements on the Report of the Advisory Group on Small Business – Minister for Small Business, John Perry, pops upstairs for two hours to hear statements on the report on assisting small businesses, wbich was presented in the weeks running up to the Budget.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Back downstairs, meanwhile, TDs get their first chance to discuss events of particular contemporary importance. The long break will mean a very oversubscribed session.

4:33pm – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny attends to hold the first session of Leaders’ Questions of 2012, where he’ll lock horns with Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and the assorted leaders from the independent benches.

4:54pm – Order of Business – Although only 21 minutes is allocated for Leaders’ Questions, the presence of three leaders – all of whom are essentially entitled to 10 minutes each – means this will start at around 5pm. Even then, its 30 minutes will be exhausted by TDs seeking a chance to query the status of other legislation in the pipeline for 2012. Expect the following item to begin after 5:30pm, therefore.

5:24pm – Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 (second stage) – The first legislative business of 2012 is one that has already raised eyebrows – it’s the formal bill bringing Ireland in line with EU requirements on ensuring that staff working for recruitment or employment agencies are given the same workplace rights as those who work in the same environments full-time.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business – Motion re DEIS schools (Sinn Féin) – Sinn Féin’s first PMB since the Budget will see Dessie Ellis put forward a motion outlining exactly the impact that the Budget will have had on DEIS (designated disadvantaged) schools – namely increasing the pupil-teacher ratio in each – and calls on the government to maintain the previous level of funding for those schools. Debate will wind down at 9pm and pick up again tomorrow.

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