Today in Leinster House: May 3, 2012

The day is a quiet one, as stuff windows down for the long weekend, but nonetheless there’s still a few interesting bits and bobs going on…

9:30am – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – In Room 3, Pat Rabbitte will put a procedural vote to win more powers for Sustainable Energy Ireland, before visitors from the Irish Farmers’ Association offer some input into the forthcoming renegotiation of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – In Room 1, meanwhile, the usual Thursday festivities will deal with spending at the CSO and the general funding of the Department of the Taoiseach.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – It’s Thursday, so Eamon Gilmore will be taking the leaders’ questions against the deputy leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad’s single-item day will, as usual, take 75 minutes to agree to.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs get 20 minutes to check up on the status of some of the government’s promised measures.

11:11am – Construction Contracts Bill 2010 (Seanad) [PMB] (second stage) – Legislation originally pushed forward by Feargal Quinn gets a delayed consideration in the Dáil. In Quinn’s own words:

The main purpose of this Bill is to provide for a mechanism whereby prior notice of an intention to withhold sums from payments otherwise due must be given. Otherwise, payments must be made in full and/or the payee may suspend the provision of works and/or services under the construction contract until payment is made in full. This provision is proposed in ease of persons along the chain in the construction sector who may suffer unduly where an entity under a superior contract would find itself withholding payment unilaterally without cause. This would bear unfairly upon the payee or others dependent upon the payee.

In short, people in the construction sector would be legally entitled to expect payment for the performance of their duties, unless the client gives formal notice in advance of their intention to act otherwise.

11:30am – Health and Children – Dr Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer at the Dept of Health, offers the Department’s response to the recent PIP implants scandal, and the general matter of non-medical silicone being used in breast implants in Ireland.

11:45am – Animal Health and Welfare Bill [Seanad] (second stage) – It’s the first airing for Simon Coveney’s new Bill to reform and reinforce animal welfare conditions; a fairly universally acceptable bill is otherwise marked by the specific exception for hare coursing, which has annoyed many.

1:30pm – Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (second stage resumed); Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage resumed) – The rest of the spare time is given to legislation which formally dissolves the Dormant Accounts Board, and Leo Varadkar’s overhaul of roadworthiness rules for commercial vehicles.

1:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment) – There’s only time for two hours of discussion on that, though, before the Seanad calls a halt to its week.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy items are discussed for 12 minutes apiece, with ministers on hand to respond.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government) – Phil Hogan wraps up the week with his quinseminal batch of questions, this week including inquiries on water metering and charges, the difficulties with pyrite in household construction, planning investigations and the septic tank inspection regime.

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