Today in Leinster House: March 13, 2012

This week’s business is dominated with the final stages of various pieces of legislation, as members try to wrap up a couple of little pieces before the cabinet goes global for the St Patrick’s Day festivities.

2:00pm – Questions (Minister for Justice and Equality) – Because of the curtailed Dáil week, Alan Shatter has the unusual distinction of taking every session of ministerial questions (other than those of the Taoiseach) this week. In the first of the two sessions, relating to his justice brief, he’ll take missives on crime stats for 2011, potential conflicts between the Offences against the State Act and UN conventions, inquiries into the Magdalene laundries and legislation on racist crimes.

2:15pm – Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht – The day’s only committee meeting, in Room 4, sees members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Upstate Theatre Company, as well as councillors from Limerick City and Louth County Councils, offering members an insight into how the arts can combat social disadvantage.

2:30pm – Order of Business – The Seanad’s day begins with the usual 75-minute free-for-all.

3:15pm – Leaders’ Questions – The chamber fills up to watch Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Shane Ross trade barbs with the Taoiseach.

3:36pm – Questions (Taoiseach) – Enda Kenny’s ministerial questions for the week relate to meetings of the cabinet subcommittee on health and the IFSC Clearing House group, and the visit of Xo Jinping.

3:45pm – Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill 2011 (to conclude) – The Seanad will today put the final touches to two pieces of legislation: this, the first, allows a greater number of veterinarians to carry out routine procedures on certain animals.

4:36pm – Order of Business – TDs agree to the day’s agenda…

5:06pm – Topical Issues …and discuss four matters of newsworthy importance.

5:15pm – Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 (to conclude) – The Seanad’s second piece of legislation is a long-running bill to give legal equality to temporary agency workers, bestowing them with the same rights as their full-time counterparts.

5:54pm – Finance Bill 2012 (report and final stages) The Dáil’s Tuesday, and Wednesday, will be eaten up with the final touches to the Finance Bill – the last major piece of the Budget 2012 legal jigsaw.

7:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Having dusted off two pieces of legislation, members discuss four topical matters before calling it a night.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Motion re Lending Rates and Mortgages – Fianna Fáil uses its private time to put down a motion which asks why the government took an active role in seeking the reduction of AIB mortgage interest rates when Permanent TSB, which is also State-owned, has a much higher and uncontested rate. There are also comments about the impact of the Keane Report. Debate pauses at 9pm.

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