Today in Leinster House: April 26, 2012

The Dáil finally gets rid of the Social Welfare bill today, while the committee rooms will see Enda Kenny make a rare visit downstairs, guests from Sweden, and more.

No sittings for the Seanad today, which will be in for a lengthy day tomorrow to make inroads on the Social Welfare Bill.

9:30am – Sub-committee on the Fiscal Compact Referendum – Enda Kenny’s busy schedule means it’s a relatively early event for him – he’s popping into Room 3 at 9:30am to discuss his thoughts on the Fiscal Compact with the designated sub-committee.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – In its first public meeting for a month, the PAC returns to Room 1 to examine spending at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Ireland’s foreign aid budget, as well as the costs of running the (first, 2010) Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – It’s Thursday, so Eamon Gilmore will be taking the leaders’ questions against the deputy leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group.

10:30am – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – In Room 4, representatives from Bord Iascaigh Mhara discuss ‘Ireland’s Ocean Wealth’.

10:51am – Order of Business – TDs get 20 minutes to check up on the status of some of the government’s promised measures.

11:11am – Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2012 (committee and remaining stages) – Marathon discussions on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill come to a gradual conclusion, with the final discussions on amendments followed by a final vote on the legislation itself. Assuming it’s passed when a vote is finally called shortly before 4pm, the legislation goes to the Seanad tomorrow.

11:30am – Health and Children – Having last week heard from Eamonn Coghlan and John Treacy on the role sport can play in combatting youth obesity, this week Prof Carlos Blanco, Director of Research at The Children’s Research Centre in Crumlin hospital, pops into room 2 to give the medical opinion on how it could be combatted.

11:30am – Sub-committee on the Fiscal Compact Referendum – Having already had Enda Kenny in Room 3, the last Fiscal Compact business of the week will hear from Jonas Sjöstedt MP, from the Swedish Left Party, who will offer his thoughts on why the treaty is or isn’t a bad idea.

2:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, the body set up by the government last year to offer a professional and academic input into national budgeting, issued a quarterly report this month in which it flagged the potential need for a mini-budget later in the year. This meeting will see some of its authors explain their current thoughts on the Irish fiscal landscape. Room 4.

3:42pm – Statements re Government’s Proposals for the Establishment of Irish Water and Water Metering Programme – Last week Fianna Fáil twice tried to force the government to allow for a debate on the introduction of water metering and charges. With the social welfare legislation finally out of the way, all parties now get a chance to discuss where the government is going with its charges. Two hours is allotted for the discussion.

5:42pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy items are discussed for 12 minutes apiece, with ministers on hand to respond.

6:30pm – Questions (Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation) – Richard Bruton is the minister whose rostered questioning is pushed back for the water charges discussion; he will face questions on employers ignoring Labour Court references, upward-only rent reviews being enforced by the IDA, cross-border enterprise initiatives, and youth unemployment.

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