Today in Leinster House: October 16, 2012

IT’S A LOW-OCTANE return to duty in Leinster House today, as eyes begin to drift toward this Thursday’s meeting of the European Council in Brussels. A few miscellaneous bits and bobs around the houses, but today won’t be a day to live long in the memory from a parliamentary viewpoint.

1:30pm – Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation – The day begins in Room 2, where members discuss ‘the Irish-US Economic Relationship 2012′ with Peter O’Neill, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Social Protection) – Joan Burton gets the Dáil week off and running by answering questions on possible cuts to social welfare rates in Budget 2013, media reports about possible cuts to child supports, asking employers to take responsibility for sick pay payments, and the future of disability allowances for those aged between 16 and 18 (which were cut in the Budget but made subject to a review which hasn’t been completed).

2:00pm – Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine – In Room 3, the agriculture resumes its review of the Food Harvest 2020 strategy with representatives from Irish Dairy Board and Bord Bia.

2:15pm – Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht – Room 4 will witness Michael McCarthy’s coronation as the new chair of the committee, replacing Ciaran Lynch who’s off to Finance; before dating EU proposals on legislating for exposure to radiation, and then discussing the enforcement of regulations in the building sector.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day begins with a 75-minute debate on… everything.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny steps up for the main event of the day, taking whatever questions the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group have to offer.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – When that’s done, there’ll be more pre-planned questioning on matters including engagements with other EU leaders, particularly Mariano Rajoy, Mario Monti and Francois Hollande.

3:45pm – Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2012 (committee and remaining stages) – The Seanad, meanwhile, will be busy debating amendments to legislation which formally hands over the duty for translating legislation into Irish from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to the Oireachtas itself.

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

5:06pm – Statements on the European Council – Enda Kenny’s off to Brussels on Thursday for a two-day meeting of European leaders which could be the best chance for getting a deal on Ireland’s banking debts before the Budget. Here there’ll be 65 minutes of Dáil statements on the summit.

5:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad, having disposed of the only item on its agenda, discusses three newsworthy matters before retiring,

6:11pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy matters are discussed for 12 minutes apiece.

6:59pm – Education and Training Boards Bill 2012 (second stage) – There’s half an hour of space before the private members’ time; it’ll be used to hold the first debate on legislation which will cut back on the number of VECs.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Sinn Féin] – Motion re Home Help Hours – Sinn Féin gets the baton for private members’ time this week; their motion calls on the government to reverse the cut of €8 million in spending on home help hours, the equivalent to about 450,000 hours, and demands a National Positive Ageing Strategy by this time next year. The debate will continue until 9pm and resume tomorrow.

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