Today in Leinster House: November 2, 2011

After a last-minute change of heart last week, the Government has decided to convene the Dáil and a couple of committees for two days this week – with a Wednesday schedule in line with its usual formula.

There’s also two committee meetings on each of the two days – one of each of those two is in private session.

Here’s what Wednesday has in store.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – The main event of the day will see Enda Kenny take some fire – no doubt relating to the referendums and Presidential election – from the three opposition leaders..

10:51am – Introduction of new memberThe Clerk of the Dáil will formally notify members of the outcome of last week’s by-election in Dublin West, which saw Labour’s Patrick Nulty elected to fill the seat vacated by Brian Lenihan. Party leaders will each say a few words to welcome Nulty, before Nulty himself says a few words.

Thereafter: Order of Business – The Order of Business – which, due to Nulty’s formalities, likely won’t begin until well after 11am – will see opposition TDs lob in some cursory questions about the stance of certain legislation – probably including the likes of the Constitutional Convention, whose work is now all the more high-profile given last week’s rejection of the 30th Amendment to the Constitution Bill.

11:21am – Statements on European Council – The Presidential election helped to overshadow the aftermath of the last European Council meeting, where Enda Kenny and his 26 EU counterparts managed to kick for touch on the Eurozone debt crisis. Here’s 85 minutes for TDs to make statements on that meeting…

12:46pm – Statements on the Development in the Eurozone – …before then getting on to discuss the other matters agreed at that summit, where the 17 Eurozone heads of state managed to hammer out a comprehensive deal allowing for a Greek default. This breaks at 1:30pm and resumes after ministerial questions.

2pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Members head to Room 4 for the first of two meetings hearing the thoughts of Civil Society groups on where Budget 2012 should make its cuts. Today’s hearing will include reps from Social Justice Ireland and TASC, the Think Tank for Action on Social Change.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine) – Simon Coveney is the minister up for questioning today, with questions likely to focus heavily on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The questions he’ll face weren’t available at the time of writing – but they’ll be found on this PDF.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Four issues, 12 minutes, and one minister for each – all in all, bringing the Dáil up to 4:33pm.

4:33pm – as 11:21am – The Dáil resumes discussion on the developments in the Eurozone, with many TDs likely to argue that Ireland has gotten a raw deal by having to honour its banking and sovereign debt when Greece has gotten out of a similar bind.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil]Motion re Social Welfare – Fianna Fáil’s 19 surviving TDs table a motion which, on the whole, compliments their own performance in government and calls on the government to specifically leave the Widow’s Pension, disability benefits and illness benefits untouched in the Budget, and to not cut other welfare ‘by stealth’. Discussions will end at 9pm and resume tomorrow.

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