Today in Leinster House: September 20, 2012 [updated]

[Updated, 10:21am]

WITH JAMES REILLY having survived last night’s vote of confidence, there’s little respite for the Department of Health, whose performance is one of the main items on the agenda today.

9:30am – Committee on Health and Children – In Room 2, the Department’s secretary-general Dr Ambrose McLoughlin briefs members on how the Department has been doing on its four-year strategy for 2010-2014. The consistent overspending is likely to be a major point of discussion.

10:00am – Committee on Education and Social Protection – There’s even more financial run over in Room 3, where officials from the Department of Social Protection offer details on KPMG’s actuarial review of the Social Insurance Fund. That’s the report which, according to the Irish Times last week, said there could be a shortfall of €324 billion by the mid-century if Ireland didn’t take action to resolve it.

10:00am – Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – In Room 4, meanwhile, credit union representatives will brief members on the general scheme of the forthcoming Credit Unions Bill to ensure state backing of that sector.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – It’s Thursday, which means the party leaders give way to their seconds-in-command for leaders’ questions, as Eamon Gilmore faces Mary Lou McDonald and whichever TDs Fianna Fáil and the technical group have put forward.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad begins its day, meanwhile, with the usual 75-minute blather about anything and everything.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs get 20 minutes to agree to the day’s agenda…

11:11am – Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage resumed) – …before having another two hours of discussion on the legislation to beef up Ireland’s animal protection regime.

11:45am – Statements on Irish Water and related reforms – Possibly of more interest upstairs will be junior minister Fergus O’Dowd, who leads a two-hour chat about the onset of a water charges system and could give us a hint about when the first bills are due in. Previously the government said bills wouldn’t be due until the end of 2014 – but a recent IMF report had a slightly different take, saying metered charges would be in by January 1.

1:30pm – National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 (second stage resumed) – TDs spend the afternoon discussing the new vetting agency.

1:45pm – Committee on Transport and Communications – In Room 3, members have two appointments: the first with the incoming head of Bord na Móna, John Horgan, and the second with EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger, with whom the members will discuss European energy policy.

2:00pm – Statements on Flooding and Flood Prevention Matters -Brian Hayes heads to the Seanad for two hours to discuss the recent floods in various parts of the country, and what can be done to stop it. The particular issues with Dublin 2011 and Cork 2012 are bound to be raised, as will those west of the Shannon from 2009.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four burning issues get 12 minutes’ airing in the Dáil…

4:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – …while three similar matters are discussed in the Seanad.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Defence) – The day ends with Alan Shatter taking his second batch of ministerial questions in as many days. His questions on defence include queries on the reorganisation of the Defence Forces, an update on the Irish peacekeeping mission in the Lebanon, the future of the Reserve Defence Force, and the transfer of staff between barracks in Dublin.

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