Today in Leinster House: January 17, 2012 [updated]

It’s a relatively straightforward day today – the Seanad isn’t around, and there are only two committees – but the JLC legislation and debates on GM foods will still pique some interest.

(This piece was updated at 9:38am with details of the questions tabled for the Taoiseach and Tánaiste.)

1:30pm – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – The day begins in Room 3, where representatives from Animal Health Ireland brief members on their 2010 annual report and their current working priorities. After that, members will concentrate on an EU legislative plan – a series of regulations on the permissibility of GM foods.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade) – Eamon Gilmore makes his first appearance in the Dáíl this year, taking scripted questions on the cut in Ireland’s overseas aid budget, whether the new EU deal will need a referendum, the use of Shannon by the US air force, the erosion of press freedoms in Hungary and Ireland’s stance on an ETA decommissioning.

2:15pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In Room 4, members of the Irish Road Haulage Association brief the committee on the challenges facing their industry.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny steps in to take the main business of the day, fending off probes from the opposition parties.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Having dealt with those, Kenny then discusses pre-submitted matters – including the wages of his special advisors, the Cabinet sub-committee on health, the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and meetings with David Cameron.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs rubber-stamp the week’s agenda, with the inevitable complaints from the opposition parties about the absence of certain items.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – Four of the day’s thematic issues are discussed for twelve minutes apiece.

5:54pm – Industrial Relations (Amendment) (No.3) Bill 2011 (second stage) – The legislative business of the day is the bill which proposes a labour regime superseding the JLC system. The new system will allow two bands of higher minimum wages to be set in certain sectors, and while there won’t be a Sunday premium, a statutory code will recognise its ‘special status’.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business – The tri-weekly rotation falls to Fianna Fáil, whose motion deals with the provision of guidance counsellors in second-level schools. That provision has essentially been scrapped under the Budget and FF’s motion would reverse the cut. Debate will continue until 9pm before everyone goes home.

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