Today in Leinster House: February 16, 2012

The Dáil will put one more nail in the Budget 2012 coffin today, while there’s some other interesting nuggets coming up in the Seanad too – where Lucinda Creighton may be prepared to offer hints on the prospect of an EU referendum.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – The Thursday begins with the Public Accounts Committee in Room 1, where members will discuss spending at the National Sports Campus with its chief executive Barry O’Brien.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore takes the usual Thursday batch of Leaders’ Questions, with Éamon Ó CuÍv and Mary Lou McDonald providing the opposition.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad begins its day with its usual 75-minute window for all things to be discussed…

10:51am – Order of Business – …while TDs have 20 minutes to agree to the day’s agenda there.

11:11am – Finance Bill 2012 (second stage resumed) – The Dáil’s morning will be spending the final discussion and debate on the Finance Bill, the last part of three legal pieces which bring the Government’s Budget 2012 into law. Naturally, given the opposition disquiet with its provisions, a vote will be called at 1pm.

11:30am – Public Accounts Committee – In the second part of its two-part meeting in Room 1, the committee discusses spending at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with its secretary general Tom O’Mahony.

11:30am – Health and Children – In Room 4, members are briefed by Children’s minister Frances Fitzgerald on recent developments relating to her brief.

11:45am – Statements and Q&A on the EU ‘Fiscal Compact’ Treaty (resumed) – Finishing a session which began last week, EU Affairs minister Lucinda Creighton wanders upstairs to answer questions put to her last week. Last week’s session was deemed to be too short to answer all concerns of members, so Creighton has agreed to return and address some points.

11:45am – Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – In Room 2, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and Frank Murray from the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains brief members on their work and recent progress in recovering the bodies of Troubles victims, before Niall Burgess from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade offers a walkthrough for the PEACE IV programme. The European Commission has funded three successive PEACE programmes (the current one, PEACE III, expires in 2013) to assist in reconciliation in the North, but has expressed reservations that funding might not be available for a fourth programme after that time.

1:00pm – Statements on the Action Plan for jobs – Having put the Budget to bed for now, TDs spent a little over two hours discussing Richard Bruton’s new plan to stimulate employment in the country.

2:00pm – Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 (committee and remaining stages) – The Seanad, meanwhile, gets one piece off its agenda before it finishes for the week, with Pat Rabbitte visiting to offer guidance as members wrap up legislation which allows ESB staff moving to Eirgrid to keep their pension entitlements.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four of the day’s burning issues are discussed with ministers for 12 minutes apiece.

4:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Having wrapped up that legislation, members get to discuss some matters of local/political/personal/opportunistic importance before the lights are turned out.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport) – Leo Varadkar has the honour of keeping members late on a Thursday; the questions put to him will include inquiries on the publication of the Booz report, the Republic’s funding for the A5 road, subscriptions and faults with the Leap Card system, and sports capital funding.

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