WHAT ARE OUR politicians doing in the halls of Leinster House?
TheJournal.ie lets you know with our guide to what’s coming up to the Dáil, Seanad and various Oireachtas committees today.
Wednesday kicks off with about 30 minutes of Leaders’ Questions at 10:30am, and once the day’s agenda has been signed off on, there’s time for another two hours of discussion on last month’s Magdalene Laundries report.
At 2:30pm Brendan Howlin takes Questions to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform; there’s discussion of four topical issues at 3:45pm.
After that, at 4:33pm, there’s discussion on two different educational bills: the last consideration of the Education and Training Boards Bill 2012, which merges Ireland’s VECs, and the Further Education and Training Bill which disbands FÁS and replaces it with the new ‘Solas’.
The day wraps up at 7:30pm with the second of two 90-minute sessions debates on a technical group motion against the sale of felling rights at Coillte forest lands. The vote on that, at 9pm, will be the last business of the day.
The day’s Dáil business can all be viewed here.
The Seanad’s day also begins at 10:30am, with 75 minutes of debate on the day’s agenda. At 11:45am members will once again consider proposed amendments to new taxi licencing laws.
At 3:30pm Fianna Fáil’s senators get two hours to debate a motion of their choice - though there was no decision, at the time of publication, about what they’d consider. At 5:30pm there’s two hours of debate on the Magdalene Report, before the day winds down with discussion of a few adjournment matters at 7:30pm.
The day’s Seanad business can all be viewed here.
Five committees hold public sessions today. Let’s deal with them in chronological order:
- At 9:30am the Transport and Communications committee meets the incoming chairman of the Port of Cork, John Mullins, to talk about the future of that facility. (Watch here.)
- The Justice committee convenes at 2pm to discuss penal reform with the founder of User Voice, Mark Johnson. (Watch here.)
- It’s a hot topic at the Environment sub-committee at 2pm: Fergus O’Dowd is present as members consider proposed amendments to the legislation behind the new system of water charges. (See ‘One to Watch’ below.) (Watch here.)
- At 5pm the Public Service Oversight and Petitions committee considers the latest petitions sent in by the public. (Watch here.)
- At 2:30pm the Foreign Affairs committee hears from Amnesty International, who have some thoughts on Ireland’s EU presidency. (Watch here.)
TheJournal.ie‘s one to watch
The discussions on the Water Services Bill 2013 – which is behind the new system of water charges – will be keenly watched.
Sinn Féin has tabled a rake of amendments which turn the bill into a ‘National Water Framework Bill’, which agrees only to consider the issue but not commit Ireland to charges. Similarly, SF’s Brian Stanley and Catherine Murphy have opposed many of the Bill’s key sections.
It’ll be a tense and tricky afternoon to see how the government defends itself against a deeply unpopular measure.
Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?