Today in Leinster House: October 18, 2012

THURSDAY’S business is more like Tuesday’s than Wednesday’s – after a slew of intriguing committee meetings and high-profile legislation, it’s back to the more routine humdrum.

That said, there’s still chat about cheaper drugs, public sector allowances, and social welfare payments, so if they float your boat…

9:30am – Committee on Health and Children – Frances Fitzgerald takes a morning out of campaigning for the Children’s Rights referendum to brief members in Room 2 on general issues concerning her brief.

10:00am – Public Accounts Committee – In Room 1, the Dáil’s spending oversight reviews the reviews (!) into allowances paid to staff at the Department of Defence.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Thursday morning means Eamon Gilmore will take Leaders’ Questions from the deputies of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad day begins with infinite contributions from senators in a 75-minute introductory session…

10:51am – Order of Business – …but the Dáil only gets 20 minutes to discuss its own agenda for the day.

11:11am – Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Bill 2012 [Seanad] (second stage resumed) – There’s 80 minutes or so to discuss legislation which would help to cut the price of prescription drugs and allow generic substitutions, before a final vote on that is taken at 12:30pm.

11:15am – Committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – Room 4 will see a discussion on community-based restorative justice programmes in Northern Ireland. Debbie Waters of Northern Ireland Alternatives and Harry Maguire of Community Restorative Justice Ireland will be on hand to answer questions.

11:45am – Statements on Social Protection – With debate about what exactly constitutes a ‘core’ social welfare payment still ongoing, Joan Burton goes to the Seanad to lead a discussion on social protection and how it might change in Budget 2013.

12:30pm – Statements on the Report of the Pyrite Panel – The Dáil’s afternoon is spent discussing the report of the pyrite panel. A brief explainer: During the building boom it turns out that particular developers were fond of using pyrite in house construction. This, however, makes them susceptible to certain problems because when it comes into contact with water, pyrite expands and stretches – meaning houses which experience rain (which is all of them) then have subsidence and cracking issues.

2:00pm – Committee on Finance (sub-committee) – Michael Noonan’s in a committee meeting for the second time in two days; he’ll be in Room 3 to steer members through proposed amendments to the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which puts a legal limit on the size of a Budget deficit.

2:15pm – Matters on the Adjournment – Three newsworthy matters are aired in the Seanad before it winds down for the weekend.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four burning issues get 12 minutes’ airing in the Dáil…

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport) – …before Leo Varadkar brings an end to the week by taking Dáil questions on matters including the bailout given to CIE (which was then withdrawn!), smarter transport, the preparations for The Gathering and possible government funding for the Homeless World Cup.

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