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Oireachtas agenda: Dáil reform, Ireland's EU birthday and national debt

Gay Mitchell will address the Seanad today on the role of the EU in solving the world’s great problems.

Gay Mitchell will address the Seanad today on the EU's role in addressing the world's biggest challenges.
Gay Mitchell will address the Seanad today on the EU's role in addressing the world's biggest challenges.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/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 and various Oireachtas committees today.

DÁIL

The day begins with Leaders’ Questions at 10:30am – taken by a Labour minister standing in for Eamon Gilmore, who is elsewhere – with the rest of the day spent dealing with three pieces of legislation.

The first is the Euro Area Loan Facility (Amendment) Bill 2013, which formally approves a cut to the interest rate on Greece’s first bailout (to which Ireland is a contributor, to the tune of €1.27 billion). If not concluded earlier, this will be brought to a conclusion at 1:30pm.

The remainder of the afternoon (until 3:42pm) will see TDs consider legislation to extend the remit of the Private Residential Tenancies Board to include housing owned by voluntary housing associations and co-operatives, and a Bill to give legal effect to Dáil boundary changes and a cut in the number of TDs after the next election.

Four of the day’s Topical Issues are debated at 3:42pm before Richard Bruton ends the week with questions to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

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

SEANAD

It’s a brief day in the Seanad, where the usual 75-minute debate on the Order of Business (a.k.a. ‘What to discuss in future’) will be followed by an address by Gay Mitchell MEP.

His speech, to mark the 40th anniversary of Irish accession to the European Economic Community, will discuss the role of the EU in economic affairs and the broader issues of the world. That’ll begin at 11:45am.

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

COMMITTEES

Five meetings up today:

  • The day kicks off at 9:30am when the committee on Health and Children considers proposed new European laws on the use of medical devices for in vitro use, before discussing the INMO’s independent studfy into staffing levels at Irish hospitals. (Watch here.)
  • The Public Accounts Committee convenes at 10am to have a look at the National Transport Authority’s accounts for 2011. (Watch here.)
  • Also at 10am, the committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement discusses the impact of the recent flag protests in Northern Ireland on the retail sector in Belfast. Figures from the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, and from the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, will be present. (Watch here.)
  • At 10:30am – when he would otherwise be taking Leaders’ Questions – Eamon Gilmore will be briefing the EU Affairs committee on next week’s European General Affairs Council, which he will be chairing. (Watch here.)
  • The Finance committee meets at 2:15pm to hear from the NTMA on the outlook for the Irish economy and the amount that Ireland will need to borrow in 2013 in order to break fully free from the EU-IMF bailout. (Watch here.)

TheJournal.ie‘s one to watch

With this week’s deal on extending the maturity of Ireland’s European bailout loans, the final item mentioned – the NTMA briefing at the Finance committee (2:15pm) – could be interesting.

Ireland is probably going to have to have a cash pile of about €10 billion built up before it goes back to the bond markets on an independent basis – but the NTMA’s presentation could outline the impact of the proposed European changes, and also give us a more concrete indication on when we’ll be independently financing ourselves on a full-time basis.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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