Today in Leinster House: November 15, 2012

THE DÁIL’S agenda is once again eaten up with legislation, but that’s not to say that there’s quite a few important discussions happening elsewhere…

9:30am – Committee on Health and Children – It’s quite unusual for motions to be put in front of Oireachtas committees, but this is a high-profile exception. Consultant oncologist Prof John Crown – an NUI senator – wants to make the Leinster House campus entirely smoke-free, banning smoking from the Oireachtas complex. It’s not universally popular. Once that motion has been done, the committee will bring some experts in to Room 2 to discuss childhood obesity.

9:30am – Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine – It’s a similarly early start in Room 4, where representatives from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) will make their pre-budget submissions.

10:00am – Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation – Over in Room 3, Retail Ireland (an IBEC sub-group) will attend to present its report on ‘Tackling the Black Market and Retail Crime‘, which it believes costs the State about €861 million a year.

10:30am – Leaders’ Questions – Thursday morning means it’s Eamon Gilmore’s turn to take the main questions from FF, SF and the technical group.

10:30am – Order of Business – The Seanad gets its usual 75 minutes to talk about whatever it likes…

10:51am – Order of Business – …while the Dáil gets merely 20 minutes to do the same.

11:11am – Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2012 (second stage resumed) – When that’s done, it’s back to devoting another four hours to discuss legislation which will formally introduce the ‘risk equalisation’ system into health insurance.

12:30pm – Statements on the discovery of Chalara fraxinea (Ash dieback disease) in the context of the importance of the forestry and forestry products industry – Junior agriculture minister Shane McEntee will preside over the only item on the Seanad’s agenda: a discussion on the outbreak of ash dieback disease in Britain (and, to a lesser extent, Ireland).

2:00pm – Matters on the Adjournment – When that’s done, there’ll be another chance for three backbench matters to be raised before the weekend starts early.

2:30pm – Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – Over in Room 2, Public Expenditure minister Brendan Howlin will be around to offer an update on the progress on the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan.

3:00pm – Committee on Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – It’s a crowded house in Room 3, where Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will lead a plenary meeting of the North South Ministerial Council.

3:30pm – Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2012 (second stage) – The health insurance legislation should be finished by 3:30pm, if not earlier; whenever it is, the Dáil gets a few minutes to consider legislation extending the powers and remit of the Private Residential Tenancies Board, the body which regulates private tenancies.

3:42pm – Topical Issues – Four newsworthy matters get discussed for 12 minutes apiece…

4:30pm – Questions (Minister for Finance) – …before Michael Noonan brings the Dáil day to a close by answering questions on the size of the adjustment in Budget 2013, the possibility of a common Troika stance on Ireland’s promissory notes, the sustainability of Ireland’s national debt, and the steps he’ll take to cut bankers’ pay and pensions.

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