Today in Leinster House: February 2, 2012

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – The day begins in Room 1, where members hear from Garda commissioner Martin Callinan on spending within the force, particularly on the matter of fingerprint systems.

10:00am – Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (sub-committee) – Richard Bruton pops into Room 4 to discuss the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011, which gives equal workplace rights to agency staff as to full-time employees.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – It’s Thursday, so Eamon Gilmore will be the one answering questions, in response to Éamon Ó Cuív, Mary Lou McDonald and Finian McGrath. (To complete the ‘deputy’ vibe, last week we also had the Leas Ceann Comhairle presiding…)

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad opens its day in the usual leisurely 75-minute manner…

10:51am – Order of Business – …while the Dáil’s own agenda will be signed off on after slightly more tense exchanges.

11:11am – Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) – The pre-noon discussions will wrap up second stage on Alan Shatter’s bill reforming oversight of the solicitors’ and barristers’ trades.

11:30am – European Union Affairs – In Room 3, academics (Dr Alan Ahearne, NUIG), economists (Prof Karl Whelan, UCD; Tom McDonnell, TASC) and a former attorney-general (David Byrne) will discuss the text of the deal struck by EU leaders in Brussels on Monday. They’ll give us a pretty decent indication of whether the deal is a good one, and whether it needs a referendum to be adopted.

11:30am – Health and Children – In Room 2, meanwhile, Colette Nolan, chief executive of the Irish Advocacy Network, will brief members on the role and functions of her organisation. Given the furore about the dismissal of whistleblower Louise Bayliss from that organisation only a fortnight ago, there may be some interesting questions put to her.

11:45am – Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill 2011 (second stage) – The Seanad’s legislative business for the day is the first look at Phil Hogan’s latest plan: a bill penalising political parties for failing to provide equal numbers of male and female candidates in elections. The exchanges may be revealing.

12:00pm – Statements re Health Service Plan – The Dáil’s business is once again diverted to James Reilly’s new health plan, which aims to lower the maximum allowable time for dealing with patients in A&E and working through elective surgical waiting lists.

2:30pm – Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – In a marquee event, Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson MP, will address members on the latest developments in Northern Ireland and issues facing the power-sharing Executive.

3:30pm – Statements and Questions and Answers on Foreign Affairs – Having taken Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, Eamon Gilmore then heads upstairs for 90 minutes of discussion and questioning relating to his ministerial brief.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four of the day’s burning issues are discussed with ministers for 12 minutes apiece.

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government) – Phil Hogan, meanwhile, jumps back downstairs to take ministerial questioning: his questions deal with any potential shortfall from raising the household charge, when the exact standards for septic tank inspections will be confirmed, and how much he might save by merging the North and South Tipperary county councils.

5:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Four items of personal importance to Senators are discussed before the lights are turned out for the weekend.

All of the day’s business can be viewed on our streams: