This week in the Dáil: May 3-5, 2011

After all the long, drawn-out hubbub of the Seanad elections, guess what? It’s not sitting this week. Instead, given how we evidently can’t expect our TDs to work a full week after two Bank Holiday weekends, we have a slightly curtailed week – most probably to allow the Senators get settled and to organise the imminent appointment of committees.

So, instead of this post being entitled ‘This week in Leinster House’, we’re back to ‘This week in the Dáil’.


Questions to the Taoiseach kick off the week at 2:30pm, with questions on constitutional reform at the head of the queue, while Questions to the Minister for Finance at 3:15pm will include the subjects of affordable housing, semi-state pay, tax arrangements for those in civil partnerships and the Universal Social Charge.

After Leaders Questions we’ll have the resumption of the ongoing window for Statements on Suicide Prevention taking us up to 7pm.

At 7pm it’s time for Private Members’ Business, which this week falls to the Technical Group. Their motion, signed by exactly half of the 16 TDs (none of the ULA five are signed up) outlines that the average mortgage holder is under too much pressure, and mandates the Minister for Finance to use his bank shares to take whatever emergency steps are necessary to resolve this “unsustainable burden”.

It will be interesting to see whether such a motion will earn the backing of fellow opposition parties – or, indeed, whether it will be adopted into the government’s official ‘change’ agenda. It certainly promises to be one of the more interesting PMB sessions we’ll see before the summer recess.


An usually curtailed day begins only at 1:30pm with the usual bout of Leaders’ Questions, before the Order of Business (which, given the relatively sparse afternoon programme, won’t take long) and more Taoiseach’s Questions.

Shortly after 3pm it’s Ministerial Questions to education chief Ruairí Quinn, who’ll speak about teaching panels and about the reform of VECs – while no doubt also facing questions about his experiences at the teachers’ conferences taking place over the post-Easter Week.

At 4:21pm it’s back to the resumption of Statements on the EU-IMF bailout, which brings the house right back to 7pm, when Private Members’ Business will see the vote on the aforementioned Technical Group motion by 8:30pm at the latest.


The Order of Business, which will inevitably take at least a half hour given that it’s the first business of the day, it’s the first airing (of this term, anyway) for the Biological Weapons Bill, which essentially gives legal effect to some of the aspects of the Geneva Convention – more specifically, banning Irish use of “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of bacteriological methods of warfare,” should we ever find ourselves in such a situation.

At 12:30pm it’s the resumption of the statements on the EU-IMF programme, and at 1:30pm what’s expected to be the final two hours of Statements on Suicide Prevention.

At 3:30pm it’s questions to the Minister for Enterprise, Richard Bruton, for whom there’s currently only one question on notice, before adjournment matters at 4:45pm wrap up a relatively transitional week.

There are special sittings set for Monday 9 May, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the EU, but they’ll likely be ceremonial at best, ahead of regular business on Tuesday.

All of the week’s business can be viewed on our live Dáil stream.