Today in Leinster House: February 8, 2012

There’s some high-profile legislation going back through the Dáil today, but interesting nuggets going through all parts of Leinster House.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – The Wednesday begins, as it tends to, with the Jobs and Education committee on room 3. Today it’s wearing its Social Protection hat, meeting with the Irish Brokers Association who will be raising some of the issues in the private pensions sector.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – The marquee event of the Dáil’s day will see Enda Kenny swat away the circling swarm of Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Shane Ross.

10:30am – Order of Business – Upstairs, at the same time, the Seanad’s day begins with its usual 75-minute discussion on all things topical.

10:30am – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – I seomra coiste 4 déanann an coiste plé faoi Seachtain na Gaeilge, atá ar siúl an mí seo chugainn, agus stádas Oifig an Choimisnéira Teanga, oifig atá le dúnadh ag an ríaltas.

10:51am – Order of Business – Once Leaders’ Questions are taken care of, TDs will sign off on the day’s agenda, airing any grievances they have at some absences.

11:21am – Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) – The Dáil revisits legislation it last saw before Christmas, which beef up the powers of the Competition Authority to act against anti-competitive business behaviour.

11:45am – Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Bill 2011 (second stage) – Dr James Reilly will meanwhile guide the Seanad through legislation which has already cleared the Dáil. It loosens the cap on the number of GPs who can offer treatment under the General Medical Scheme, meaning more doctors can treat medical card holders.

2:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Meeting in Room 4, members greet Joe McNeill, the Central Bank’s head of statistics. He will brief members on the latest data about non-mortgage related personal debts.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Defence) – For the second time in two days, Alan Shatter stands to take Dáil ministerial questions. This time answering questions on his Defence brief, he’ll respond to queries on reducing the number of army brigades, retirements in the Defence Forces, and any future barracks closures over the next three years.

2:30pm – Foreign Affairs and Trade – In Room 1, meanwhile, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs will brief members on Ireland’s bid for a seat on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

2:30pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – In Room 2, members discuss the latest plans for common European legislation.

3:00pm – Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 (second stage) – Pat Rabbitte guides the Seanad through some routine housekeeping legislation, which allows staff being transferred from ESB to Eirgrid to retain their pension pots.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – TDs get to hold ministers to account on four of the day’s burning issues. Each topic gets 12 minutes’ discussion.

4:33pm – Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 (second stage resumed) – TDs resume their deliberations on Alan Shatter’s landmark – though controversial – bill to overhaul the regulation of the legal professions.

5:00pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Motion re Budget 2012 – Private time falls to the 14-strong Fianna Fáil delegation, whose motion is a relatively straightforward condemnation of the cuts in Budget 2012. The government parties have an amendment in, so a vote will be called at 7pm.

7:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Once the Fine Gael motion has been dealt with, the Seanad discusses four matters of political importance to its members before the evening draws to a close.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Sinn Féin] – Motion re Community Employment Schemes – This week’s private time falls to Sinn Féin, who use it to table a motion condemning the government’s proposals which they argue would hamper and diminish the work of Community Employment schemes around the country. The government has a more favourable amendment down, so there’ll be a vote on that at 9pm before things wrap up for the day.

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