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Oireachtas agenda: Seven Bills to be wrapped up before Christmas break

Michael D Higgins will be busy over Christmas: no fewer than seven Bills will be wrapped up today and sent for signature.

Michael D Higgins will have a lot of signing to do next week.
Michael D Higgins will have a lot of signing to do next week.
Image: Fennell's Photography/Áras an Úachtaráin

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, the Seanad and in the various Oireachtas committees today.

It’s largely a day of wrapping up various pieces of legislation: having completed three pieces (on insolvency, Europol and a national vetting agency) yesterday, there’s another seven pieces to be totally completed today.

DÁIL

The day begins with Leaders’ Questions at 10:30am, before a rake of small procedural motions which precede a day of finalising various pieces of legislation ahead of the Christmas break.

At 11:45 there’ll be debate on the final amendments to legislation raising CIE’s debt ceiling, from €103 million to €300 million; while at 1:15pm they’ll debate the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Bill, which will dictate the Oireachtas Budget for the next three years.

At 4:15pm they’ll wrap up their consideration of the Civil Defence Bill, which abolishes the Civil Defence Board; then at 5:15pm they’ll talk about legislation which allows humanists and other secular bodies to carry out civil partnership ceremonies.

At 8pm there’ll be debate on topical issues, and at the oddly precise time of 8:48pm, Leo Varadkar will take ministerial questions to round out the Dáil’s year.

The day’s Dáil business can all be viewed here.

SEANAD

After two high-octane days it’s down to slightly more debate business; after the opening 75-minute debate at 10:30am there’s a quick minute to approve the Appropriation Bill (that’s the one we told you about yesterday, where €45.5 billion in spending is assigned) without debate.

At 11:46am there’s just over two hours of final debate on the Social Welfare Bill, with a final vote on approving it at 2pm. There isn’t likely to be any threat of a defeat, given that identical wording of the Bill was passed at second stage earlier this week.

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At 2pm, then, there’s debate on proposed amendments to the Local Property Tax Bill, with no defined limit on sitting times, though it’s expected that a final wrap-up vote will be held at some time around 5pm.

Seanad proceedings can be watched here.

COMMITTEES

Five public committee meetings will wrap up the year:

  • The Finance Committee meets no fewer than three times today; the first two meetings will see the public interest directors from Bank of Ireland (9:30am) and AIB (12:30pm) answer questions on their roles as public supervisors of the appropriate banks. Later, at 3pm, there’ll be scrutiny of the European Commission’s proposals on the creation of a new Eurozone banking union. Watch all three meetings here.
  • The Health and Children Committee meets at 9:30am to discuss issues relating to the Gardasil vaccine and the Meningococcal Group B vaccine, including experts from the HSE and meningitis research bodies. Watch here.
  • Finally, the Public Accounts Committee meets for its usual session at 10am, where it will discuss Ireland’s foreign aid funding. The recent scandal regarding funding in Uganda will likely be up for discussion. Watch here.

TheJournal.ie‘s one to watch

The appearance of the public directors from Bank of Ireland and AIB should be of keen interest – especially since Permanent TSB director Ray MacSharry suggested yesterday that the bank would simply not engage in any mortgage write-downs, despite IL&P having received €4 billion in state funding.

Read: Bank directors to be asked if AIB and BOI are acting in public interest

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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