Today in Leinster House: May 23, 2012

THERE’S MORE ministerial visits to committee rooms today, as cabinet members seek approval of extra Budget funding for their departments, while the Dáil breaks the back of some new legislation and the Seanad puts some gift wrap on some older bits.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Innovation – The day begins in Room 3, where Young Ballymun and the Early Learning Initiative at the National College of Ireland will brief members on education disadvantage and how it can be combatted.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny steps up for the main pitches of the day from Micheal Martin, Gerry Adams and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day is largely occupied with getting rid of some legislation – but first there’s the usual 75 minute open forum to raise anything and everything.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs get 30 minutes to sign off on their own agenda…

11:21am – Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage); Qualification and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (second stage) – …before getting to the two main items of the day. The first is an overhaul of standards for the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles; the second is part of the quango cull, turning the FETAC, HETAC and the NQAI into a new QQAA. Debate on both will continue until 1:30pm, and then again after lunch and ministerial questions.

11:45am – Companies (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (to conclude) – The first of the three pieces to be wrapped up by the Seanad today is a routine piece which amplifies the penalties which can be given to companies which are in breach of competition law.

1:45pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – Karen Erwin from the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland drops into Room 2 to offer her institute’s thoughts on the draft Mediation Bill, which deals with the legal capacity of people with disabilities, and the rights of other people to act on their behalves in a legal setting.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Finance) – Michael Noonan is the minister up for interview today; he will face inquiries on the likely cost of borrowing from the ESM, projections for the amount of cuts needed in the next seven years to meet the Fiscal Compact rules, whether all NAMA properties should be sold on the open market, and whether the Euro was simply a bad idea.

2:30pm – Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 (to conclude) – Item two on the Seanad agenda is the relatively routine legislation enshrining greater animal welfare standards. Most of the contentious parts will have been dealt with yesterday at committee stage, so today’s should be a general thumbs-up.

3:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Representatives from ICTU drop into Room 4 to offer their thoughts on the draft whistleblowers legislation.

3:00pm – Justice, Defence and Equality – It’s a lengthy schedule for Alan Shatter who needs to get funding for both of his Government departments as well as the Gardaí, Defence Forces, army pensions, prisons, the courts service, and the Property Registration Authority.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy items are discussed for 12 minutes apiece, with ministers on hand to respond.

3:45pm – Statute Law Revision Bill 2012 (to conclude) – The last leg of the Seanad’s legislative Troika is wrapping up legislation which repeals over 4,000 obsolete laws dating from pre-independence.

4:33pm – as 11:21am – Debate resumes on the legislation dealing with roadworthiness and quango-bashing, until 6:30pm.

4:45pm – Private Members’ Business [Taoiseach’s nominees] - Motion on National Lottery licence – Rebellion! The government appointees opposing government business! Well, not quite. All-but-card-carrying FG supporter Marie-Louise O’Donnell has a motion bashing Brendan Howlin (of Labour)’s plan to sell off the National Lottery licence.

6:30pm – Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2012 (second stage) – Say what you like about Phil Hogan, but he’s been quite efficient at getting legislation through the Oireachtas so far in his 15-month tenure. Today he starts out with more legislation, which (in his own words) does the following:

The purpose of the Bill is to legislatively underpin any new or existing body under the Local Government Services (Corporate
Bodies) Act 1971 to 2012 (if amended); to facilitate the reorganisation, merger or abolition of State agencies.

6:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – With the three pieces of legislation taken care of, the Seanad discusses topical issues before calling it quits.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Sinn Féin] – Motion re Preservation of 16 Moore Street – Debate resumes on the Sinn Féin motion about the headquarters of the 1916 interim cabinet, in a motion which is also backed by all 19 Fianna Fáil TDs, 13 of the 14 independents, all five of the ULA TDs and Labour outcast Patrick Nulty. The motion commands Jimmy Deenihan to issue a ministerial order stopping the proposed development at the top of O’Connell St, by safeguarding the site at 14-17 Moore Street (which is thought to include the last HQ of the 1916 leaders) from any development. A vote, if needed, at 9pm.

9:00pm – as 6:30pm – There’s one further hour of debate on Phil Hogan’s local authority scrub-up before the day ends at 10pm.

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