Today in Leinster House: October 9, 2012

THE LEGISLATIVE week is mostly tied up with a hangover bill from the Fiscal Compact – which comes just weeks before the Budget – but there’s other stuff happening too: not least an examination of just why the HSE is spending more than it had budgeted to.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Education and Skills) – Ruairí Quinn is the man to get the week’s public business underway; he’ll answer questions on the impact of cuts to guidance counsellor services, plans to include capital assets for the student grant in 2013, the impact that cuts to teachers’ wages will have on the numbers in the profession, an increase to the student registration fee, and the performance of Ireland’s universities in the world rankings.

2:00pm – Committee on European Union Affairs – There’s a delegation from the Canadian-European Parliamentary Association over today; they’ll be attending a couple of meetings this afternoon, the first of which is this meeting about Ireland’s forthcoming stint as president of the European Council. Room 1.

2:00pm – Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine – Over in Room 3, representatives from the food and drink, dairy and meat industries will discuss the ‘Food Harvest 2020’ strategic plan.

2:15pm – Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht – The Canadians are in Room 4 as well, and they’ll be discussing the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive with their Irish counterparts, but first there’s a discussion about the decision-making process at An Bord Pleanála with its chairperson Dr Mary Kelly.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day kicks off with the usual 75-minute free-for-all…

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – …while 3:15pm heralds Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil with Enda, Micheál, Gerry and friends.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – After that Enda Kenny takes more sedate questions on the Constitutional Convention (and why it doesn’t have any representatives from GLEN) and bilateral meetings with other European leaders.

3:45pm – Statements on SME Week – …while the Seanad holds a discussion on this week’s status as SME Week, which is intended to highlight the role of Ireland’s small firms in the national economy.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs agree to the day’s agenda.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy matters are discussed for 12 minutes apiece.

5:30pm – Public Accounts Committee – It’s an usual Tuesday meeting for the Dáil’s spending watchdog; it’s holding a special sitting to scrutinise the spending crisis in the HSE which could have grave implications by the end of the year. HSE deputy CEO Tony O’Brien will be present, as will Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, the chief civil servant at the Department of Health.

5:45pm – Statements on the Consultation Paper – “Radical Seanad Reform Through Legislative Change” – The Seanad will meanwhile be discussing its own fate – having further discussion on the paper published by a group of independents last month about the future of the upper house. Last week’s first session had pretty poor attendance, so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a better turnout this time.

5:54pm – Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012 (second stage) – One of the main impacts of the Fiscal Compact was the fact that Ireland is now subject to a legal limit on the size of the Budget deficit it can run. This is the legislation that will enforce it; this will be a main feature of the Dáil’s week.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Motion re Agriculture – Eamon O Cuiv will hope to land his first punch as Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman with this motion, which discusses the role of the Agri-Environment Options Scheme and also calls on the government to address rising diesel prices. Debate wraps up at 9pm.

7:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Three of the day’s newsworthy matters are mentioned in the Seanad before the lights are turned out.

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