Today in Leinster House: May 15, 2012

THE LEGISLATION in both Houses of the Oireachtas this week has a strangely financial tint, but there’s also some pretty beefy committee materials on the way.

Kicking off the week…

1:30pm – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – The day begins in the usual Room 3, where the agriculture committee continues its hearings on the reform of the CAP. Offering their input will be the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, and representatives from Macra na Feirme.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Children and Youth Affairs) – Frances Fitzgerald is the first minister up for questioning this week; she will face inquiries on the intended timeframe for the children’s rights referendum, a 24-hour child protection services, and illegal adoptions.

2:00pm – Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (sub-committee) – It’s a busy week of committee meetings this week, with quite a few ministers having to go in front of their appropriate committees to seek the release of extra Budget funding. That may sound quite salacious, but really it’s relatively routine: Departments are usually given a conservative estimate of how much they might need, with the expectation that they will then go back to the committee later and seek more. The first up is Richard Bruton, who needs extra cash for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. He’ll be in room 2.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad kicks off its day with the usual 75-minute session of anything and everything.

2:30pm – Health and Children – It’s a busy day in Room 1, too, where there’s a lengthy set of hearings on the implications of the Children First legislation. First up will be a Q&A session with children’s ombudsman Emily Logan, before a later session with Irene Gunning, Chief Executive Officer, Early Childhood Ireland; Ciairín de Buis, Director, Startstrong; and Patricia Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Childminding Ireland.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny takes the marquee event of the day, facing questions from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin or the technical group.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Among the matters up for Kenny’s written rostered questions: reviewing the programme for government, his Department’s role in fighting the jobs crisis, and the meetings of the Economic Management Council.

3:45pm – Statements on Mortgage Arrears – The sole item on the Seanad’s agenda is a visit from Brian Hayes, who will lead two hours of discussion on how to tackle mortgage arrears.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs sign off on the day’s agenda…

5:06pm – Topical Issues – …and then raise four topical issues for 12 minutes apiece.

5:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad discusses topical issues of its own before calling it a night.

5:54pm – European Arrest Warrant (Application to Third Countries and Amendment) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill 2011 (second stage) – There’s a little over 90 minutes left to discuss some housekeeping legislation; this one tweaks the process for extraditing people under the terms of European Arrest Warrants, and also extends the provisions of the existing laws to certain non-EU members.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Regulation of Debt Management Advisors Bill 2011 – Private time falls to Fianna Fáil, which puts forward a bill which would require debt management companies to be regulated and licenced by the Central Bank. The legislation is motivated by recent cases where commercial budgeting services went belly-up, taking clients’ cash with them. Debate ends at 9pm and will pick up again tomorrow.

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