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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 27 October 2020

Oireachtas agenda: Child protection, children's hospital and Magdalene apology

The Seanad today debates legislation extending the time for which the HSE can take a child from its parents.

Frances Fitzgerald is busy today - she takes Dáil questions at 2:30pm and steers new legislation through the Seanad at 4:15pm.
Frances Fitzgerald is busy today - she takes Dáil questions at 2:30pm and steers new legislation through the Seanad at 4:15pm.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

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.


The day begins with Leaders’ Questions at 10:30am, with an 85-minute discussion on last week’s EU summit – which agreed the basic terms for a seven-year Budget for the EU – later in the morning (11:30am).

The rest of the day is wrapped up with the government’s motion affirming Dáil support for its actions on the promissory note. It’ll be debated from 12:55am until the end of the day – resuming tomorrow – with interruptions at the following times:

  • At 1:30pm for lunch;
  • At 2:30pm for Dáil questions to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs;
  • From 3:45pm-4:33pm for discussion on four topical issues; and
  • At 7:30pm to finish debating – and voting on – Fianna Fáil’s motion calling for a Magdalene apology.

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


It’s a continuation of the theme today – the Seanad continues its series of MEPs’ addresses with a speech from former senator Phil Prendergast (Labour) at 11:45am. (This is preceded by a 75-minute procedural discussion at 10:30am).

At 2:30pm members discuss proposed amendments to legislation giving a 32-county role to Science Foundation Ireland; at 4:15pm there’ll be a quick discussion on legislation extending the time period for which a child can be unilaterally taken from its parents (See ‘One to Watch’ below); and at 5:30pm there’s a two-hour debate on a motion from the independent Taoiseach’s nominees who want a new dedicated weekly lottery to raise money for the National Children’s Hospital.

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


There are many meetings on today but most of them are private; here’s what’s left:

  • At 9:30am the Transport committee hears from the Road Safety Authority as it discusses the European Commission’s plans for new rules on car roadworthiness. (Watch here.)
  • At 1pm the Education committee discusses how to promote digital literacy. (Watch here.)
  • At 2:30pm the Foreign Affairs committee hears from Chambers Ireland on how the Department of Foreign Affairs can take an active role in stimulating trade and an economic recovery. (Watch here.)
  • At 5pm the Public Petitions committee discusses the latest petitions submitted to it and how to act upon them. (Watch here.)

TheJournal.ie‘s one to watch

It’s not the most hectic of days in Leinster House today – and it would be easy for the Child Care Bill 2013 to fly under the radar as a result.

The Bill is relatively simple – and only 75 minutes has been devoted to discussing it – but the legislation is closely related to last year’s referendum.

Currently, the HSE is allowed to seek a court order to take a child into its care – without the consent of its parent – for a maximum of eight days. This amendment proposes to extend this period to 29 days.

This, of course, is subject to the usual caveats about exceptional circumstances – but it will be interesting to see how opposition and independent senators react to the plans, particularly as they have barely been trumpeted by the government.

Read: Seanad to begin debating legislation behind water charges

Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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