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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 20 October, 2014

Irish Water (obviously), payday loans and everything else happening in Leinster House today…

What’s going on in Leinster House? Well, you asked…

ULA TD Richard Boyd Barrett
ULA TD Richard Boyd Barrett
Image: Oireachtas.ie

WANT TO KNOW what’s going on in Leinster House today?

Every day the Dáil and Seanad are sitting, TheJournal.ie brings you the most comprehensive guide to what our lawmakers are getting up to in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Here’s what we can expect to see happening in the Dáil, Seanad and committee rooms today…

Three things we’ll be keeping an eye on:

  • Dáil: Enda Kenny’s on his feet at noon for Leader’s Questions — once again fielding queries, criticisms and occasional insults from across the Dáil chamber. We can expect plenty of questions on the the issues of the week — namely the developing garda whistleblower saga, and the issue of costs at Irish Water.
  • Dáil: Just before lunchtime it’s Topical Issues, whereby members aim to shine the spotlight on matters of concern to their constituents and the country at large. Expect plenty more on the subjects above for starters… we’ll find out what else is on TDs’ minds from 12.51pm.
  • Committee Room 4: ‘Payday lenders, and what we should do about them’ — that’s the issue up for discussion at the Finance Committee from 3.30pm this afternoon. Officials from the Central Bank will be in to discuss their findings on the issue: a report from the regulator last year found that 360,000 people borrowed from licensed moneylenders, often at very high interest rates.

Everything else that’s happening in the Dáil:

  • It’s a 9.30am start in the Oireachtas this morning — Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan is up first, taking questions for an hour or so on issues directly concerning his department. Possible subjects may well include the commemoration of the Battle of Clontarf, the refurbishment of the National Gallery and efforts to protect and preserve a 111-year-old shipwreck recently displaced from its watery resting place off Kerry.
  • After that, it’s down to workaday business for TDs  at 10.45am — namely the  approval of an order for the inclusion of Irish Water in the Freedom of Information Act; it’s planned the act will be applied retrospectively to the new semi-state body. Also on the agenda: The Oireachtas Ministerial and Parliamentary Allowances Bill, which concerns reductions in allowances for TDs; and legislation concerning the dissolution of enterprise advisory board Forfás.
  • After lunch, there’s time set aside in the agenda for the continuation of morning business — and at 7.30pm we can expect attention to shift to the issue of healthcare cuts as Fianna Fail’s Private Members motion on the issue is discussed for a second night…

image

Minister James Reilly is under pressure on several fronts on the issue of healthcare cuts — as Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher illustrated in the Dáil last week. [Oireachtas TV]

Everything happening in the Seanad:

  • Order of Business in the upper chamber gets under way at 10.30am — after which senators discuss the Health Identifiers Bill, which aims to compel health professional regulatory bodies (like the Medical Council) to provide information to the Health Minister on registered professionals [11.45am].
  • That motion on bringing Irish Water into the Freedom of Information Act provisions is put to senators from 1.35pm [see Dáil business, above].
  • Later, members turn the spotlight on the functions of the Seanad chamber itself at 3pm, as a motion on general elections for the upper house is discussed.

Everything happening in the committees:

  • There’s quite a few committees in session today — the Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection will be tackling the issues  of ‘Social Enterprise in Ireland’ and ‘Equality Budgeting’ from 1pm:  the panel of TDs and senators will be hearing from Forfás and the Equality Budgeting Campaign, respectively, on those subjects. [Committee Room 3]
  • The Joint Sub-Committee on European Scrutiny also meet at 1pm for a private session. [Committee Room 4]
  • Passport Office officials will brief the foreign affairs committee at 2.30pm. [Committee Room 1]
  • The Select Sub-Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality will examine the revised estimates for the gardaí, the prison system and the Courts Service from 9.30am, with Minister Alan Shatter in attendance. [Committee Room 2]
  • The full justice committee then considers the feasibility of bringing in a Community Courts system for the country from 4pm: amongst those making submissions will be Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn, a representative from the Bar Council, and an expert on the issue from the Centre of Court Innovation in New York, Julius Lang. [Committee Room 2]
  • Elsewhere, junior minister Brian Hayes will be at the Select Sub-Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform to discuss 2014 estimates for the Office of Public Works.

Here’s how to watch what’s going on in Leinster House today:

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