Today in Leinster House: February 9, 2012

The Seanad has a busy day with ministers taking various Q&A sessions, while the Dáil wraps up its consideration on a contentious piece of legislation.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – The day begins in Room 1, where the PAC takes a close look at the spending of the Vocational Education Committees (VECs) of Kildare, Cork city and Cork county.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Both Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are away in New York so a senior minister, probably Ruairí Quinn, will be the one answering questions, in response to Éamon Ó Cuív, Mary Lou McDonald and Joe Higgins.

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) – Funnily enough, the Dáíl’s morning business is precisely the same as that of last Thursday: after leaders’ questions and the Order of Business, it gets back to discussing the plans to overhaul the legal professions. It’ll wrap up at 1pm, with a vote taken then if one is demanded.

11:30am – Public Accounts Committee – Back in Room 1 for the second part of its meeting, the PAC hears from the secretary-general at the Department of Education and Skills to discuss spending in that Department.

11:30am – Health (sub-committee) – In Room 2, members have a quick look at legislation inherited from the previous government, which makes it officially a specific crime to carry out female genital mutilation.

11:45am –  – Junior finance minister Brian Hayes, who has formal responsibility for public sector reform, takes an hour-long session of Q&A on the progress of the Croke Park deal, under which public sector unions agreed to offer increased flexibility in exchange for commitments not to bring in any enforced redundancies.

1:00pm – Statements on the development of the National Disability Strategy – Junior minister Kathleen Lynch leads two hours of Dáil discussion on the new National Disability Plan.

1:30pm – The Immigrant Investor Programme and Start-up Entrepreneur Scheme – Statements and Q&A – Alan Shatter pops upstairs to take questions on his new proposals to relax visa requirements for foreign investors willing to invest and assist entrepreneurialism in this country.

2:30pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Four items of personal importance to Senators are discussed before the lights are turned out for the weekend.

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

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine) – The week wraps up with Simon Coveney taking questions on his ministerial brief, featuring inquiries on any underspending for 2011, the country’s badger population, the impact of regionalisation and the fishing industries.

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