Today in Leinster House: February 15, 2012

The Dáil continues hammering through the legislation to enact the Budget into law, while the committee meetings also have important things to discuss across the board and the Seanad returns to some landmark legislation.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – As usual, Wednesday begins in Room 3, where members will be putting on their social protection hats to deal with EU plans for consumer protection law, and then their education hats to greet the City of Dublin VEC and Kylemore College Ballyfermot to discuss the role of music and the arts in disadvantaged areas.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – The marquee event of the morning will see Eamon Gilmore, sitting in for Enda, again fight off the barbs of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the opposition groups.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad spends 75 minutes agreeing to its own routine for the day…

10:51am – Order of Business – …while TDs get just 30 minutes to do likewise, even though they’re not likely to need it.

11:21am – Finance Bill 2012 (second stage resumed) – The Dáil’s day is hogged by the second of three days’ debates on the Finance Bill, which brings the remaining parts of Budget 2012 into law.

11:45am – Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (committee stage) – Meanwhile, the Seanad will see its third stint of discussion on Phil Hogan’s new legislation requiring political parties to put forward equal numbers of male and female candidates. This time they’re dealing with proposed amendments from opposition and independent sides.

2:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Meeting in Room 4, members will first deal with a motion put down by Stephen Donnelly on protecting the family home, before hearing from Karl Whelan (UCD), Brian Lucey (TCD) and Stephen Kinsella (UL) on how Ireland should deal with the bill of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Health) – James Reilly takes a long-overdue batch of parliamentary questions in the Dáil, dealing with questions on matters including contingency planning for dealing with retirements, the effects on older people of closing nursing home beds, and the backlog in processing claims for medical cards.

2:30pm – Foreign Affairs and Trade – It’s heavy going in Room 1 this afternoon. Members will hear from Front Line Defenders – an international, on-the-ground human rights group – before hearing from seniors at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who will brief members on the human rights situation in Bahrain, where anti-government protests observed their first anniversary yesterday. Of particular interest is the welfare of RCSI’s graduate doctors who are working there, and some of whom have faced persecution for treating the protestors.

2:30pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – In Room 2, a relatively more routine meeting will see members consider the input given from interest groups on the drafts heads of the new Personal Insolvency Bill, Alan Shatter’s attempt to modernise the bankruptcy laws.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – TDs get to hold ministers to account on four of the day’s burning issues. Each topic gets 12 minutes’ discussion.

4:00pm – Private Members’ Business [Feargal Quinn] – Motion re Food Packaging – The university senators have agreed to let Feargal Quinn take their PMB time, and Quinn uses it to put in a comprehensive motion with suggestions for the government on new food packaging labels. When the suggestions are coming from the man who founded the Superquinn supermarket chain, known for its food, they’re likely to be taken seriously. If the government has any problems with it, they’ll force a vote on them at 6pm.

4:33pmas 11:21am – Debate resumes on the law bringing Budget 2012 into law, and will continue until 7:30pm.

6:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Once Feargal Quinn’s motion has been dealt with, the Seanad discusses four matters of political importance to its members before the evening draws to a close.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Technical Group] – Motion re Stroke in Ireland – The triweekly rotation of opposition time falls to the technical group, who allow Maureen O’Sullivan to put forward a motion on the risk of strokes and mandating government action on bringing forward new plans on dealing with it. If there is government opposition or an amendment to it, a vote is taken after 9pm.

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