Today in Leinster House: January 12, 2012

Back into the general swing of things in the first Thursday of 2012 – with notable business at all levels.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Room 1’s routine Thursday morning could, in fact, be the most interesting one of the day. Members will discuss the 2010 report of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission – essentially looking at how they, themselves, spend money. It could be a cracker.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – It’s a Thursday morning, but Eamon Gilmore is away chairing an international conference – and Enda Kenny is in London meeting David Cameron – so it is left to the rest of the cabinet to deal with barbs from the other sides of the house.

10:30am – Order of Business – Business will no doubt be more sedate upstairs as members get going on their usual 75-minutes-a-day talking shop.

10:51am – Order of Business – Given how many TDs will have wanted to query the status of promised legislation yesterday – and the fact that a half-hour limit is never enough to satisfy all of their queries – this 20-minute session will most probably be fairly crowded.

11:11am – Private Members’ Business – Motion re DEIS schools (Sinn Féin) – Resuming last night’s debates, Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis has 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. There will be a government amendment watering down the motion, which will be voted on at 12:51pm, with the amended motion voted on thereafter.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – The only other public committee meeting of the day, in Room 3, will see Danish ambassador Niels Pultz briefing members on Denmark’s priorities for its six-month presidency of the EU, which has just begun. Oddly enough, today’s meeting will likely be chaired by a minister – as the chairman, Joe Costello, has been made a junior minister for trade and international aid. There may also be formal notification of his resignation from the committee.

12:42pm – Statements on Suicide Prevention – Kathleen Lynch, who is responsible for Mental Health, leads a two-hour discussion on trying to tackle the very emotive and topical issue of suicide.

12:42pm – Patents (Amendment) Bill 2011 (to conclude); Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) – The legislative business of the day will see TDs sign off on routine legislation which makes Ireland comply with international treaty agreements, and – if time allows – continue the discussion from yesterday on the new bill guaranteeing similar rights to agency workers as those employed directly in their workplace.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – TDs get to hold ministers to account on four of the day’s burning issues. Each topic gets 12 minutes’ discussion.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport) – The main business of the week ends with Leo Varadkar taking scheduled questions on matters including the sale of Cork and Shannon airports, the position of the Taxi Review Group, the route of a oilport in Co Wexford and the extent of expected public transport cost increases in 2013 and 2014.

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