Today in Leinster House: November 14, 2012

THE DÁIL’S day is largely eaten up by two major pieces of legislation, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere…

9:30am – Committee on Transport and Communications – The day begins in Room 4, where officials from the National Roads Authority will discuss strategic developments in maintaining and developing Ireland’s roads network, including links across the border to the North.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Enda Kenny takes the marquee event of the morning, fending off tripartite questions from the opposition benches.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad will meanwhile get 75 minutes in which it will agree to its own agenda…

10:51am – Order of Business – …a function for which TDs will be granted merely 30 minutes.

11:21am – Credit Union Bill 2012 (second stage resumed) – As mentioned earlier, most of the day’s Dáil time is wrapped up on the legislation to amplify the state’s power to backstop and save an ailing credit union.

11:45am – Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012 (second stage) – Meanwhile, the Seanad will be holding its first debate on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, a follow-on from the Fiscal Compact treaty which limits Ireland’s budget deficits (from 2018) to 0.5% of GDP.

1:00pm – Committee on Education and Social Protection – In Room 1 Ruairi Quinn will brief members on the agenda for next week’s meeting of European education ministers; when that’s done Comhairle na nÓg will be around to discuss its role in the SPHE curriculum in second-level schools.

2:30pm – Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2012 (second stage) – Today and tomorrow are largely eaten up by legislation which tweaks the ‘risk equalisation’ process in health insurance. The idea is to add a levy to every health insurance policy, which will go to funding tax credits for older clients so that the overall cost of a health insurance policy is broadly equal irrespective of age.

2:30pm – Civil Defence Bill 2012 (second stage) – The Seanad spends two hours discussing legislation to abolish the Civil Defence Board and restore its functions to the Department of Defence.

3:00pm – Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Usually meetings to discuss European legislative plans aren’t too meaningful, but this one – in Room 4 – is an exception. One of the matters being discussed are proposals for new systems to deal with countries whose budget deficits exceed the 3% of GDP limit laid down by Europe. And yes, that includes us.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy matters are discussed in the Dáil for 12 minutes apiece.

4:00pm – Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade – In Room 1, IBEC and the Irish Exporters Association discuss the role that the Department of Foreign Affairs can have in helping to stimulate international trade and Ireland’s economy.

4:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fine Gael] – Motion on bullying – The main government party gets two hours of free time in the Seanad, and uses it to put forward a motion backing the government’s stance on tackling bullying and expressing sympathies for the families touched by recent suicides in that area.

4:33pm – Questions (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade) – In a slightly tweaked afternoon agenda, Eamon Gilmore steps in late to take questions on matters including the murder of David Black, the misappropriation of Irish funds in Uganda, human rights abuses in Turkey, abuses of Irish-trained doctors in Bahrain, and the Israel-Palestine peace process.

5:48pm – as 2:30pm – When that’s done, its back to discussing the health insurance legislation.

6:30pm – Matters on the Adjournment – With the Seanad’s day done, there’s time to discuss three matters of importance to members before the lights are turned out.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Motion re student grants and supports – It’s then time for further debate on Fianna Fáil’s motion dealing with educational supports, and more specifically the backlog of grant applications building up. There’ll be a vote called at 9pm.

9:00pm – as 2:30pm – With that done, there’s time for about 45 minutes of further chat about health legislation before calling it a day.

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