Today in Leinster House: October 18, 2011

Again, most of the Dáil’s business will be wrapped up with getting through legislation this week – but elsewhere in the houses there are enough to keep one’s eyes peeled for.

Here’s what’s kicking off the week on Tuesday.

1:30pm – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – Kicking off the week in Room 3, food safety minister Shane McEntee briefs members on what he considers his main priority issues to be.

2pm – Questions (Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) – Jimmy Deenihan is the first minister to take questions this week; among the topics he’ll face questions on are negotiations with turf cutters, the strategy for the Irish language, initiatives from the Global Irish Economic Forum, and plans to open up embassies for use in the next Culture Night.

2pm – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – In Room 2, members will discuss one of the hot-button topics of the current Dáil term so far: the matter of Special Needs Assistants, and future plans for their employment, as well as that of resource teachers and Traveller educators.

2pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – In Room 4, meanwhile, TDs and Senators will receive visitors from the St Vincent de Paul, Threshold, Focus Ireland and the Simon Communities, who will brief members on the provision of emergency, temporary and long-term accommodation for the homeless.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad gets together for 75 minutes of daily free-for-all discussions.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – In the main Dáil event of the day, Enda Kenny takes unscripted questions from the three opposition spokespersons across the benches.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Having gotten over the unscripted questions, Enda Kenny then takes scripted questions on topics including inter-departmental committees, the meeting of the EU’s Eastern Partnership committee in Warsaw, the matters he intends to raise at this weekend’s EU summit, and to report on his recent meeting with Jose Manuel Barroso.

3:45pm – Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) (No.2) Bill 2011 (second stage) – Taking its first legislative business for a while, the Seanad gets its first look at the bill which is aimed to further safeguard Ireland’s financial institutions. Whenever it’s finished, it’ll take care of its adjournment matters – we suspect this may happen around 6:30pm or so.

4:36pm – Order of Business – The Dáil arranges its plan of action for the week, as opposition members get a chance to query the status of other promised legislation.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – Four prominent topics are discussed for 12 minutes apiece in the Dáil.

5:54pm – Statements re Report by Interdepartmental Working Group on Mortgage Arrears – In what will probably be seen as its main event of the day, TDs get around 90 minutes to discuss last week’s report on mortgage arrears, which recommended against a blanket debt forgiveness programme.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Fianna Fáil’s tri-weekly slot of private time sees finance spokesman Michael McGrath table legislation – the Debt Settlement and Mortgage Resolution Office Bill 2011 – which would, in his own words…

reform the law on personal insolvency; to provide for a non-judicial debt settlement arrangement process concerning personal debt; to provide for a non-judicial mortgage resolution order concerning mortgages over family homes; to provide for a debt relief order for personal debt where a debt settlement arrangement or bankruptcy is not appropriate; to reform the law on the enforcement of personal debt, including individual enforcement mechanisms; to provide for the establishment of a debt enforcement office, which includes a debt settlement and mortgage resolution office; to provide for the licensing and regulation of personal insolvency trustees and debt collection undertakings; and to provide for related matters

Debate concludes at 9pm.

As always, all of the day’s business can be viewed on the streams: