Today in Leinster House: November 17, 2011

Today most eyes will be on the government’s press conference (at noon, on this stream) where the government will outline its plans for cutting the public sector, and update us on which quangos are likely to be culled.

All in all, then, another busy day, so here’s what to expect…

10am – Public Accounts Committee – Thursday begins as it usually does: with the Public Accounts Committee having a close look at the state of the national finances, in Room 1. This week TDs examine pensions spending, as well as finance governance in the Irish Red Cross

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore takes the usual Thursday batch of Leaders’ Questions from the deputy leaders of opposition parties.

10:30am – Order of Business – In the Seanad, senators begin their daily chatter on whatever they deem worthy of parliamentary attention.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs have a quick look at the day’s agenda, which is set down into large chunks so shouldn’t be particularly complicated.

11:11am – Access to Central Treasury Fund (Commission for Energy Regulation) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (to conclude); Statements on Child Protection – Two main items on the agenda for the Dáil’s morning sitting. The first item is a routine bil which allows the Commission for Energy Regulation to access low-cost loans from the NTMA; the second is an open session, led by Children’s minister Frances Fitzgerald, on the rights of children and how to protect them.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – The deputy prime minister of the Republic of Serbia, Bozidar Djelic, pops into Room 3 to update members on the relationships between his country and the EU.

11:30am – Health and Children – In room 2, members resume their long-running discussions on alcohol marketing – with this week’s input coming from the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland; Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body; advertising agency RothCo; and Irish International.

11:45am – Statements and Questions and Answers on Overseas Trade – Junior trade minister Jan O’Sullivan takes a two-hour session of discussion and questions on trade and exporting.

11:45am – Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – In committee room 4, the cross-border Committee hears from Peter Osborne, chairman of the North’s Parades Commission, as well as board members Robin Percival, Dr Catriona King, Frances Nolan, Delia Close, Rev Brian Kennaway and Dr Michael Boyle.

2pm – Public Expenditure and Reform – Assuming the previous meeting finishes in time, members will file into Room 4 to meet reps from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. That’s the new body which was set up to offer impartial advice on how best to engage with the Budget process. They will talk members through their 2011 report, which recommended €4bn in Budget cuts (the government ultimately met them halfway, and went with €3.8bn).

2:30pm – Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) – There’s two hours of debating time left for the week, so the Dáil will resume discussions on James Reilly’s bill which will allow more GPs to treat Medical Card holders.

2:30pm – ‘Developments in Social Protection’: Statements and Q&A – Joan Burton is the next minister to pop upstairs, taking statements and questions on social welfare priorities.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four issues of thematic importance are discussed for 12 minutes each.

4:30pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Three items of importance get an airing before the Seanad wraps up for the week.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) – Brendan Howlin wraps up the Oireachtas week, with the scheduled questions dealing on matters like how the cutbacks in capital spending will hit GDP, the impact of the Budget on the vulnerable, public service reform and pensions, and the sale of state assets.

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