Today in Leinster House: November 22, 2012

ENDA’S OFF to Brussels to try and further the cause of Ireland’s economic reform, and while he’s away there’s a distinctly financial tone to today’s events.

9:30am – Committee on Health and Children – The day kicks off in Room 2, where members of the Irish Premature Babies Organisation will be present to mark World Premature Day; after that, they’ll meet Comhairle na nÓg to discuss general youth issues.

9:30am – Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – In a rescheduled event from last week, Brendan Howlin pops into room 4 to offer an update on the government’s public service reform plans in room 4.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – Over in Room 1, meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee will hold a magnifying glass over the government debt, the balance of funds in the National Pension Reserve Fund, and the accounts of the National Treasury Management Agency. The latter’s chief executive John Corrigan and the NPRF chairman Paul Carty will be on hand.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Thursday mornings – and Enda’s trip to Brussels – mean it’s Eamon Gilmore in the leader’s chair this morning, as he bats away questions from the rostered heads of Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and the Technical Group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad’s morning begins more ordinarily, with the usual 75-minute free-for-all as members raise whatever they like.

10:51am – Order of Business – Thursday mornings also mean TDs only get 20 minutes to agree to the day’s agenda and not the full 30 they’re used to…

11:11am – Europol Bill 2012 (to conclude); Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2012 (second stage resumed) – There’s just over two hours to discuss legislation today: the first will finalise Ireland’s participation in a newly-expanded Europol police force, and the second will expand the powers and emit of the body which regulates private lettings.

11:30am – Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine – Simon Coveney wanders into Room 4 (assuming the earlier meeting with Howlin has ended on time) to continue guiding members through proposed amendments to the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012.

11:45am – Civil Defence Bill 2012 (committee and remaining stages) – To its credit, the Seanad is dealing with a whopping two issues today; the first is finalising its examination of legislation to abolish and dissolve the Civil Defence Board, and give its powers back to the Department of Defence…

12:30pm – Fiscal Responsibility Bill 2012 (report stage) – …while the second is a second chance to discuss amendments to the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which will put a legal limit on Budget deficits from 2018 onward.

1:30pm – Motion re A Framework for Junior CycleLast month education minister Ruairí Quinn announced the biggest revamp of the Junior Cert in decades – limiting it to eight exams, and proposing to introduce a broader palette of subjects that students could be taught (though not necessarily examined upon). There’s no legislative basis to the Junior Cert so here, members will simply vote on a motion to rubberstamp the changes which are due to begin kicking in on a phased basis from next September.

2:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad, having wrapped up its two items, discusses three newsworthy items before calling a halt to its week.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy matters get discussed for 12 minutes apiece…

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) – …before Richard Bruton brings the Dáil week to a close by answering questions on the manufacturing industry, the target for 100,000 jobs by 2016, stimulating the retail sector, and helping the creation of SMEs.

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