Today in Leinster House: February 28, 2012

It’s a relatively low-octane resumption of duties, with more interesting matters coming later in the week, but nonetheless there are some interesting nuggets around the houses.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) – Brendan Howlin takes his regular batch of ministerial questions, with sensitive timing given the impending public sector retirement explosion. Today he’ll deal with questions on those retirements, as well as the sale of state assets and the political expenses regime.

2:15pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – Assembling in Room 4, members discuss European plans on limiting the permitted noise levels from automobiles, before discussing a review of the Official Languages Act and the work of Foras na Gaeilge.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad Dbegins its day with the usual 75-minute open forum on anything and everything.

2:30pm – Foreign Affairs & Trade – After last week having Germany’s junior foreign minister in, today members will have an Israeli visitor – as Yuli Edelstein, the country’s minister for ‘public diplomacy and diaspora affairs’, meets members in room 1.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – The marquee event of the Dáil’s day will see Enda Kenny stand up to swing at the usual arguments put across by Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – The more routine weekly questions for Kenny’s ministerial portfolio will contend with Enda’s trip to Davos, the cost of running his press office, and the meetings of his cabinet subcommittees.

3:45pm – Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 (second stage) – The Seanad gets its first look at Richard Bruton’s legislation which gives agency workers the same legal protections as their full-time counterparts.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs ratify the evening’s agenda and query the status of electoral promises which have yet to materialise.

5:06pm – Topical Issues – Four burning issues are discussed for 12 minutes apiece.

5:45pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Senators raise a few matters of political prudence before wrapping up for the evening,

5:54pm – Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] (second stage resumed); Statements on Action Plan for Jobs – There’s two discretionary items on the Dáil agenda today; the first is to conclude debate on the bill dissolving the Dormant Accounts Board, and the second is statements on the government’s 270-point plan to create 200,000 jobs by 2020.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Sinn Féin] – Motion re sale of State Assets – Striking while the iron is still hot, Sinn Féin uses its triweekly motion to put down a comprehensive motion listing why each of the State Assets are vital to the country’s interests, and therefore condemning and blockading their potential sale. The government will have an amendment in to negate the details, and so a vote will be taken tomorrow evening.

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