Today in Leinster House: May 16, 2012

The Dáil and Seanad sittings kick off late to allow for events elsewhere, but when they do kick off, there’s a high-profile committee showdown as well as some other weighty bits being put through the Houses.

9:30am – Jobs, Social Protection and Innovation – The rest of the houses are taking a relatively late start, so the day starts with a busy meeting in Room 3: Martin Murphy of HP Ireland discusses plans for tackling youth unemployment, there’s talk about Ireland’s spending in the Globalisation Adjustment Fund, and there’s review of plans for new EU laws in the right to collective industrial action.

12:00pm – Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture – In what will probably be billed as the biggest deal of the day, RTE chairman Tom Savage and director-general Noel Curran join the BAI’s Michael O’Keeffe in briefing the communications committee on the latter’s investigation into the Prime Time Investigates Mission to Prey debacle. The hearing will offer the first chance for Savage and Curran to face questions from non-journalists. Room 2.

12:30pm – Order of Business – There’s 75 minutes of general free-for-all chat to kick off the Seanad’s day…

1:45pm – Statute Revision Bill 2012 (second stage) – …before discussion of a housekeeping bill which abolishes no fewer than 4,000 old pieces of legislation dating from pre-independence. It’s part of an overall ambitious plan to purge obsolete legislation from before 1922.

2:30pm – Questions (Minister for Health) – James Reilly is the minister on duty to take questions today; he will face inquiries on the review of the Fair Deal scheme, the compensation for people who contracted Hepatitis C from blood products, and the methods by which new drugs are appraised as being ‘value for money’.

2:30pm – Transport, Tourism and Sport (sub-committee) – In Room 1, Leo Varadkar guides TVs through his new legislation which overhauls the minimum standards for commercial vehicles.

3:00pm – Justice, Equality and Defence – Some weighty matters being discussed in Room 2, with Alan Shatter on hand to oversee a discussion approving the EU and USA’s plans to share passenger name records, an independent report into the deaths of three soldiers in the Lebanon in March 1989, and a general overview of the work of the Reserve Defence Forces.

3:00pm – Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Given how the matter of government debt is so central to the debate on the Fiscal Compact, this Audit of Irish Debt from the University of Limerick troika (heh)  of Dr Sheila Killian, Dr  John Garvey and Ms  Frances Shaw could make for interesting viewing. Room 4.

3:30pm – Statements on Symphysiotomy – Following on from Dáil statements before Easter, the Seanad spends an afternoon discussing the overused – and often barbaric – practice of symphysiotomy, whereby pregnant women would have their pelvises sawn open in order to facilitate giving birth. It left many women incontinent or unable to walk.

3:45pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy items are discussed for 12 minutes apiece, with ministers on hand to respond.

4:33pm – Leaders’ Questions – Given that the day is starting late, it’s only now that Enda Kenny takes the usual high-profile grenades from Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Shane Ross.

4:54pm – Order of Business – TDs agree to the day’s agenda.

5:15pm – Foreign Affairs and Trade – Eamon Gilmore continues a week of ministers seeking extra departmental funding, popping into Room 1 to ask for extra operating funds for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

5:24pm – Credit Guarantee Bill 2012 (second stage) – The Dáil’s evening is occupied with a main part of the government’s Action Plan for Jobs: allowing for a state guarantee scheme for small businesses to access credit. Richard Bruton will lead the debate.

5:30pm – Education (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (Dáil amendments) – The Seanad considers procedural amendments to legislation setting up a new Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority before sending the Bill off for Presidential signature.

6:30pm – Matters on the Adjournment – The Seanad will debate a few matters of topical importance at the conclusion of the day.

7:30pm – Private Members’ Business [Fianna Fáil] – Regulation of Debt Management Advisors Bill 2011 – Private time falls to Fianna Fáil, which resumes debate on its bill requiring debt management companies to be regulated and licenced by the Central Bank. The legislation is motivated by recent cases where commercial budgeting services went belly-up, taking clients’ cash with them. Debate ends at 9pm and will pick up again tomorrow. If the government wants to oppose the plan for now, it’ll call a vote at 9pm.

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