Today in Leinster House: March 1, 2012

On Tuesday morning we thought the Wednesday business would be quiet – and along came a referendum. On Wednesdya we thought Thursday could be demure… and then off goes Éamon Ó Cuív.

And in spite of all that, there’s still the usual mixture of barbs and questions to keep things busy…

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – With the Public Accounts Committee’s usual meeting taking place behind closed doors, Thursday’s business opens with Eamon Gilmore taking Leaders’ Questions with opposition from Mary Lou McDonald, Finian McGrath, and whoever Fianna Fáil nominates as its last-gasp stand in.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad takes 75 minutes to arrange its one-item agenda…

10:51am – Order of Business – …while the Dáil gets just 20 minutes to do likewise.

11:11am – Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgements (Amendment) Bill 2011 (all stages) – Before the Dáil gets back to again discussing restrictions on the hiring of non-qualified teachers, there’s time to squeeze through one piece of legislation in its entirety: a bill which signs Ireland up to broader conventions allowing people to use Irish courts to enforce civil judgments issued in other jurisdictions. Similarly, people who are on the wrong end of a judgment in the Irish courts will have a chance to pursue those judgments in another jurisdiction.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – In Room 3, there are some illustrious visitors: H.E. Javier Garrigues, the Ambassador of Spain, H.E. Doctor Eckhard Lübkemeier, the Ambassador of Germany, and H.E. Emmanuelle d’Achon, Ambassador of France. Each of those three illuminaries will be offering their countries’ thoughts on the Fiscal Compact treaty.

11:30am – Health and Children – Over in Room 2, meanwhile, members of the Oireachtas Health committee will meet with their Stormont counterparts to discuss an all-island approach to co-operation on healthcare.

11:45am – Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 (committee stage) – The Seanad deals with some opposition amendments to Richard Bruton’s legislation which gives temporary agency workers the same legal rights as their full-time counterparts.

1:30pm – Education (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage resumed) – Yet more debate on the legislation which requires all qualified teachers to join the Teaching Council (€90 a year, if you’re asking) and in turn requires schools to give first preference to such teachers if they have casual work arising.

2:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Having dealt with their single item of business, Senators get to discuss four matters of their own choosing before they clock off for the weekend.

2:45pm – Foreign Affairs and Trade – In a relatively late kick-off, members assemble in Room 3 to meet Douglas Roche – a former Canadian senator who now serves as the ‘ambassador for disarmament’ – to discuss the slow progress in the abandonment of nuclear weapons, before hearing from Dóchas on the recent White Paper for Irish Aid.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Once they’ve dealt with the new conditions for hiring teachers, TDs get a chance to raise four issues of their own and hold ministers to account for 12 minutes apiece.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Social Protection) – The day wraps up with Joan Burton taking her usual batch of ministerial questions, this week including queries on the use of private contractors to provide ‘one-stop shops’, the pathways to work initiative, and community employment schemes.

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