Today in Leinster House: January 24, 2012 [updated]

A contentious – and no doubt, regularly fraught – week in the Oireachtas this week, with the passage of legislation on septic tanks and next week’s EU summit looming large.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) – Brendan Howlin kicks off the week with his first Dáil appearances since the Budget was announced. He’ll take pre-submitted questions on the number of public service retirements, the proceeds from the sale of state assets, any chance of re-opening the Croke Park Deal, and reports on high-end public sector pay.

2:15pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In Room 4, the environment committee continues its long-running discussions on water provision. Firstly, NewERA minister Fergus O’Dowd is present to brief the committee on Irish Water – presumably the new semi-state body overseeing the rollout of metered water charges – before the ESRI’s Dr. Edgar Morgenroth briefs members on some of the practical obstacles to water provision.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny takes the main event of the day, locking horns with Éamon Ó Cuív, Gerry Adams and the rostered leader of the Technical Group.

3:30pm – Finance (sub-committee) – Back in Room 1, a sub-grouping of the finance committee will discuss the Bretton Woods Agreements (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2011. A housekeeping bill, it sees Ireland ratify a new management structure at the IMF (all countries are required to do so before it can take effect) and also increase Ireland’s contributions to the IMF, thereby incurring a lower interest rate on its borrowings.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Having dealt with the ad hoc exchanges, Enda Kenny’s scripted missives for reply this week deal with the last EU summit on December 9, his stance on a financial transactions tax, if he has spoken with Holland about its decision not to refer the ‘fiscal compact’ deal to a referendum, and his plans for the summit next week.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs rubberstamp the day’s agenda, while sneakily asking for updates on other promised legislation.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – Four of the day’s burning topics are discussed for 12 minutes apiece, with the appropriate minister responding in each case.

5:54pm – Statements pre European Council – Next Monday the heads of the EU’s 27 governments head to Brussels, with the intention of signing off on the formal text of the ‘fiscal compact’ treaty. Here, Enda Kenny will lead TDs’ statements on what the government hopes to get out of that summit.

6:59pm – Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] – With a little over half an hour left idle on the agenda, TDs get their first look at legislation which brings Ireland into line with the Lugano convention. What is that, you ask? It’s a treaty which sees member parties recognise the validity of civil court judgments in each jurisdiction – meaning a person can’t duck their way out of a court judgment against them simply by leaving the country.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Technical Group] – Motion on Anglo Irish Bank bond repayment – This week it’s the Technical Group’s turn to bring forward a motion or legislation of its own; its motion is a last-ditch attempt to force the government not to repay the bond maturing tomorrow for Anglo Irish Bank. Its €1.25bn bond is unsecured, but is being repaid anyway – with the State footing the bill. Debate wraps up at 9pm and continues tomorrow.

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