Today in Leinster House: July 21, 2011

Schooooooools out, for, summer… today’s the last day before the backbenchers TDs decamp for a staycation, and the ministers jet off to anywhere where they won’t be recognised for a while.

But before that, some stuff to get through.

For reference, items in brown are committees, blue reflects the Seanad, and green reflects the Dáil. 

10am – Public Accounts Committee – The finance boffins get their teeth into the Comptroller and Auditor General’s annual report for 2009 (the 2010 one isn’t due for publication until the autumn). It’ll discuss the government’s general overall spending – and then, separately, how much the Minister for Finance’s office is spending on its own operations, which may provide a laugh.

10:30am – Order of Business in both Dáil and Seanad – The Seanad kicks off its final 75-minute round of daily calls for debates, while the Dáil gets its house quite literally in order. The Dáil will also give its final routine rubberstamp to a batch of procedural motions like the approval of the EU’s treaty with Serbia, its deal sharing passenger records with Australia, and a free trade agreement with South Korea.

11am – Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 [Seanad] – The Dáil polishes off a miscellaneous law bill which gives legal immunity to people acting as Good Samaritans as well as reforming Ireland’s backwards bankruptcy laws.

11am – JOC on Health and Children – Dr James Reilly gives a general pre-recess update on health issues. Except some tension between the minister and the committee’s newly deposed chairman Denis Naughten, who is still sitting on the committee having given up the €9,500-a-year chairmanship over the Roscommon A&E affair.

11:30am – JOC on European Union Affairs – The Tánaiste gives a general update on foreign affairs priorities, an as-yet-unconfirmed group of MEPs offer their thoughts on how to improve relationships between the European Parliament and the Oireachtas, and three of the IIEA’s head honchos try to convince the committee of how their body can play a role in EU affairs.

11:45am – Electoral Amendment Bill 2011, committee stage – After yesterday’s fractious Second Stage debate, which prompted Phil Hogan and Niall Collins to exchange any press releases last night, the suggested amendments to a bill which cuts the numbers of TDs (slightly) and limits presidential election spending may be worth keeping an eye on.

1pm – Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011, to conclude – The Dáil spends some time debating a motion on handling committee amendments, before proceedings to the bill itself which is at report stage.

2pm – Electoral Amendment Bill 2011, remaining stages – The Seanad wraps up its work on cutting the number of TDs and on limiting the spending in October’s presidential election to €750,000 per candidate. (Note the irony of the Seanad voting to cut the size of the Dáil…)

4pm – Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) (No. 2) Bill 2011, second stage – The Dáil resurrects a bill first proposed by former Seanad leader Donie Cassidy, on behalf of the late Brian Lenihan, which tweaks his earlier legislation and allows for the cheaper winding down of busted banks (hint hint, Anglo and Irish Nationwide).

4pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad gets its last chance to Put Things On The Record before it winds down for its holliers.

6pm – Questions to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – Jimmy Deenihan draws the short straw of having to stay late on the last day, where he will discuss creating an inventory of all the art owned by Ireland’s banks, the attendances of junior ministers at ministerial councils, funding for Donegal’s islands and the possibility of asking Britain to return the personal effects of the 1916 leaders.

7:15pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Four TDs take the last chance to have a word and raise some issues before everyone decamps to the bar to run up some more arrears.

As always, all of the week’s business can be viewed on our live Dáil and live Seanad streams. Links to the live streams of each committee meeting can be found by clicking into the details of that meeting on our interactive Committees calendar.