Today in Leinster House: May 10, 2012

The legislative agenda today is largely concerned with putting away longstanding bills, though there’s room for one crucially important bill in the Seanad agenda while the committees have a plethora of visitors.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Thursday begins, as usual, in Room 1 where the Dáil’s highest-profile committee discusses spending on transport, rural roadbuilding, and the budget of the National Roads Authority.

10:00am – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – Over in Room 4, there’s a communications function where the committee meets Siún Ní Raghallaigh, the chairperson-designate at TG4, before hearing from the National Dairy Council on that most thorny of subjects: the proposed ban on advertising cheese to children.

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 day begins with the usual 75-minute free-for-all on anything and everything.

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 resumed) – The Dáil’s day is largely kept up with bits and pieces which have been on the agenda for a while. First up is Senator Feargal Quinn’s legislation which would require construction firms to give formal advance notice to a subcontractor if they’re planning not to pay them for services already rendered.

11:30am – Health and Children – In Room 2, there’s two separate sessions where sporting and youth groups will give their input on the Children First bill. The first group, the sports one, includes the Irish Sports Council’s John Treacy; Gearoid O’ Maolmhicil, the Child Welfare Officer at the GAA; and Kate Hills, the National Children’s Officer at Swim Ireland. The second grouping includes Mary Cunningham of the National Youth Council of Ireland; John Cahill from Foroige; and Eddie Darcy, a Youth Work Services Manager with the Catholic Youth Care.

11:45am – “Looking forward to Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union: January to June 2013” – Lucinda Creighton leads a miscellaneous Seanad session of statements on Ireland’s presidency of the European Council, which kicks off in five months,

1:30pm – Statements re OSCE; Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (second stage resumed) - There’s an indeterminate amount of time allocated to some Dáil debate on Ireland’s presidency of the OSCE, which continues for all of 2012; whenever it’s done, it’s back to debating the legislation enforcing gender quotas for the next general election.

1:30pm – Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011 (report and final stages) – Some housekeeping for the Seanad, getting rid of another piece of longstanding legislation. This bill merges HETAC, FETAC and the NQAI into a new national Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority.

2:30pm – European Union Affairs – The IIEA’s Brendan Halligan pops into Room 3 to give a talk entitled ‘Looking to the future – the EU in twenty years time’. There will surely be some questions on the Fiscal Compact too.

3:00pm – Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage) – In what will probably be billed as the main item of the day, there’s three hours of discussion on Alan Shatter’s new legislation which will make it a criminal offence to withhold information about the abuse of a child or vulnerable person. The bill forms part of a suite of legislation enforcing the rights of children.

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

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine) – Simon Coveney takes time out of worrying about CAP reform to take Dáil questions on matters including the agri-environment options scheme for REP scheme 3 farmers, complaints about the treatment of racehorses, mackerel negotiations, and Ireland’s progress in meeting its milk quota for 2012.

6:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment) – Having wrapped up its debate on the children’s abuse legislation, the Seanad discusses a few miscellaneous topical issues before calling a halt to its week.

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