Today in Leinster House: June 21, 2012

AFTER YESTERDAY’S business in the Seanad – when the government was beaten no fewer than three times – there’ll be quite a lot of attention upstairs, while the Dáil wipes out thousands of old bills and the PAC deals with welfare overpayments.

9:30am – Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation – Another early start for the newly-constituted jobs committee in Room 4, as Richard Bruton makes his second visit to talk members through the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2012 which tweaks the accountancy rules which companies must observe in filing accounts.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Over in Room 1, the Dáil’s most powerful standing committee discusses spending at the Department of Social Protection, as well as social welfare overpayments and employment schemes.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – It’s Thursday, so Eamon Gilmore will be stepping up to take leaders’ questions against the rotated heads of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day begins with the usual 75-minute customary discussion on ‘what-the-Seanad-should-be-talking-about’…

10:51am – Order of Business – …while the Dáil will only get 20 minutes of similar discussion.

11:11am – Statute Law Revisions Bill 2012 (all stages) – The first two free hours of the Dáil schedule will create one piece of legislation, which itself scraps over 4,000 other pieces. A lot of redundant legislation from pre-independence is still officially in effect in Ireland, though mundane and obsolete, and this legislation will officially take them off the books.

11:30am – Health and Children – Having last week hosted James Reilly and his junior ministers for a general overview of the Health brief, this week it’s Frances Fitzgerald who pops into Room 2 to give a general update on her brief as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – Over in Room 3, meanwhile, Lucinda Creighton briefs members on the plans for next week’s General Affairs council in Brussels, where the work will be largely focussed on laying the ground-work for the European Council (that’s the summit of full heads of government) on Thursday and Friday.

11:45am – Credit Guarantee Bill 2012 (second stage) – Having cleared the Dáil only 13 hours ago, the legislation providing for a State-backed loan scheme for SMEs makes its away into the Seanad for a two-hour debate.

12:00pm – Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust appeared at two different committees yesterday – but that’s not enough. To complete the hat-trick, they address the Good Friday Agreement committee in Room 4 to discuss the possibility of cross-border co-operation in sectoral areas.

1:30pm – Statements on Nuclear Proliferation – Having eliminated thousands of pieces of old legislation, there’s time for two hours of statements on the continued spread of nuclear arms, and how best to pursue the ultimate goal of total nuclear disarmament.

1:45pm – Criminal Justice (Search Warrants) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (committee stage); Criminal Justice (Withholding Information against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (to conclude) – The Seanad’s next items – the second one held over from yesterday – are proposed amendments to legislation which plugs a legal gap relating to the use of search warrants in criminal investigations, and the final consideration of legislation making it illegal to withhold information about a child being abused.

3:00pm – An Bille Gaeltachta 2012 (second stage) – The final item of the week is the first piece of legislation to be steered through by Gaeltacht minister Dinny McGinley. This legislation amends the criteria through which an area can be considered a Gaeltacht, paving the way for the likes of Clondalkin to become an official Gaeltacht area.

3:30pm – Public Expenditure and Reform (sub-committee) – The last committee meeting of the day is in Room 2, where Brendan Howlin guides members through the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill 2011 – a relatively tame piece of legislation which ensures a uniform pensions scheme for new entrants to the public service.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four burning issues get 12 minutes’ airing in the Dáil with ministers on hand to offer governmental response.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Defence) – Alan Shatter takes his second set of parliamentary questions in as many days, this time on his Defence brief, including inquiries on the reorganisation of the Western Brigades, the downgrade of barracks in Athlone and the savings being made from closing one in Clonmel, the scale of redeployments needed in brigade restructuring, and plans to reduce the number of Irish soldiers in overseas missions.

5:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – With an hour’s debate on Gaeltachts put to bed, a few miscellaneous topical issues are mentioned in the Seanad to bring an end to the week.

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