Today in Leinster House: October 4, 2012

THE PRESIDENT of the European Parliament will undoubtedly get some bad press upon his arrival to address the Dáil today – any German man coming to say hello wearing his EU colours is going to face a tough time from the commentariat – but there’s some other bits and bobs around too.

9:30am – Committee on Health and Children – The day begins in Room 2, where Safefood and Ferrero (of Rocher fame) will brief members on how to tackle childhood obesity.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Over in Room 1, the state’s spending scrutineers will finish up their examination of spending in colleges, as well as the 2011 accounts of the Higher Education Authority.

10:30am – Address of the President of the European Parliament, Mr Martin Schulz MEP – Martin Schulz has been an MEP since 1994, and the leader of the Socialist grouping in the parliament (that’s Labour’s one) since 2004. In January he became the president of the parliament and ever since then he’s been willing to challenge the Brussels consensus whenever it’s needed – though the socialist group has been less than willing to pay ball on an Irish debt deal. This morning he’ll spend some time speaking about Ireland’s role in Europe. Whenever he’s done (we’re budgeting 30 minutes, so the rest of the Dáil timetable may be a bit off), there’ll be a 30 minute break to digest what he’s said.

10:30am – Order of Business – No rush respite for the Seanad, though: its own day begins with the usual 75-minute talking shop.

11:30am – Leaders’ Questions – When the Dáil resumes after Schulz’s speech, it’ll be Eamon Gilmore taking the leaders’ questions from the deputy leaders of the technical group, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

11:45am – Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill 2008 (committee stage) – The main item of the day upstairs are proposed amendments to the Ombudsman amendments bill, originally proposed back in 2008 (though lapsing when the last government collapsed). The bill simply adds a list of agencies to those covered by the Ombudsman’s remit.

11:51am – Order of Business – TDs get a mere 20 minutes to discuss their own agenda for the day’s discussions…

12:11pm – Europol Bill 2012 (second stage) – …and then settle into four hours of discussion about legislation which allows Ireland to ratify amended terms of reference for Europol, the association of European police forces.

1:15pm – Private Members’ Business [Fine Gael] – Motion on CAP Reform – The afternoon in the Seanad is wrapped up with a motion by Fine Gael to itself.  It supports Simon Coveney in his attempts to “maintain Ireland’s direct payments and rural development at current levels as a means of best achieving Food Harvest 2020 targets”. The minister, we’re sure, will be thrilled.

3:15pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Once the acclamation of Simon Coveney’s awesomeness is taken care of, there’s time for three topical matters to be discussed before a halt is called to the week.

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

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Finance) – …before Michael Noonan wraps up the week in the Dáil with parliamentary questions on matters including alternatives to the property tax; engagement with the finance ministers of Germany, Finland and the Netherlands; the identity of THOSE AIB bondholders; and the prospect of ESM investment in the banks.

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