Today in Leinster House: February 22, 2012

A slew of committee meetings put meat on the bones of the day, while the Seanad holds more timely debate and the Dáil gets through some legislation which has been knocking around for a while.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Education – The day kicks off in Room 3, where members deal with no fewer than 13 plans for European legislation, before hearing from the IDA and Enterprise Ireland on promoting entrepreneurship.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – The main event of the morning will once again see Enda Kenny bat away questions from the tripartite opposition led by Messrs Martin, Adams and Ross.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad will open its day with the much more sedate session of OoB, where members get 75 minutes to raise whatever they like.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs sign off on the day’s agenda.

11:21am – Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 (to conclude) – After kicking around the Dáil for a while, TDs will finally put to bed a longrunning bill which gives equal employment rights to temporary agency works as the full-time equivalents have.

11:45am – Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Bill 2011 (committee stage) – Another piece of legislation which has been on the table for a while, which allows a larger number of GPs to treat patients on medical cards. Today they’re dealing with opposition amendments.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Finance) – Michael Noonan’s parliamentary questions are always ones to watch, and today should be no different even though personal circumstances are likely to mean Brian Hayes will fill in. Today the questions deal with lending targets at pillar banks, the Anglo promissory note, and those 115,000 letters to pensioners who are paying less tax than the government thinks they should be.

2:30pm – Statements and Q&A on Media Standards – With himself and Ruairí Quinn making regular pronouncements of late about the state of Ireland’s media culture, Pat Rabbitte today faces his first parliamentary scrutiny on it: taking a two-hour Seanad Q&A on the standards of Ireland’s media organs. Certainly worth a watch.

2:30pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – In Room 2, members hear more submissions on the Mental Capacity Bill 2011 – this time hearing input from Inclusion Ireland, the Psychological Society of Ireland, the Alzheimers Society of Ireland, the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, and the Mental Health Commission.

2:45pm – European Union Affairs – Michael Link, Germany’s junior minister for foreign affairs, is in town this week – so he’s being given the courtesy of a hearing with the EU affairs committee (Room 1) for an ‘exchange of views’.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy topics are discussed for 12 minutes apiece.

4:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Yet more input from the public on yet-to-be-discussed legislation: This time it’s the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill 2011, which will reform the pay and pensions scheme for most of the country’s public servants. Input comes from Shay Cody, IMPACT; Billy Hannigan, PSEU; Noel Ward, INTO; Phil O’Sheaghdha, INMO; Louise O’Reilly, SIPTU and Jim Mitchell, POA. Room 4.

4:00pm – Investigation, Oversight and Petitions – In Room 3, meanwhile, there’ll be an interesting committee meeting: the committee which would have been in charge of Oireachtas inquiries, had the referendum been passed, will hear from political experts on why the referendum didn’t pass int the first place. Featuring Red C’s managing director Richard Colwell, TCD professor Michael Marsh, and UCC’s duo of Dr. Jane Suiter and Dr. Theresa Reidy.

4:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Labour] – Wind Turbines Bill 2012 – Labour get their chance to bring independent legislation, guaranteed to have FG approval, and use their time to bring forward legislation which puts a limit on how close a wind turbine can be located to a residential premises. A vote, should one be demanded, shall take place at 6:30pm.

4:33pmas 11:21am – Debate continues on the rights of agency workers, with a final vote being taken at 5:30pm if one is called for.

5:30pm – Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Bill 2012 (second stage) – It might all have slipped our minds, but the legislation which raised the motor tax in the Budget hasn’t actually been brought forward yet. This is the Dáil’s first discussion on it, with two hours of debate on the merits, or otherwise, of the new scheme.

6:30pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Once Labour’s 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 [Fianna Fáil] – Motion re Health Services – Debate resumes on Fianna Fáil’s comprehensive motion condemning government cuts to community hospitals and A&E wards, and rejecting James Reilly’s plans for a universal health insurance. The government has an amendment down which removes all the criticism of its efforts, so far, so a vote will be called on that at 9pm before the lights are turned out.

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