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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Oireachtas agenda: Budget 2014 (yes, already) and Dáil scrapping Seanad?

The final Dáil vote on whether to proceed with a constitutional referendum will be held just after 10:30pm this evening.

Last week's Dáil vote on closing the Seanad was deferred - but the final vote of TDs comes at 10:40pm this evening.
Last week's Dáil vote on closing the Seanad was deferred - but the final vote of TDs comes at 10:40pm this evening.
Image: Houses of the Oireachtas

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.

DÁIL

It’s an usually early start for the Dáil today – with a special sitting starting at 11am to try and rush through the clumsily-titled European Union (Accession of the Republic of Croatia) (Access to the Labour Market) Bill 2013 (Seanad).

Its purpose is fairly simple: Croatia’s joining the EU next Monday, and Ireland wants Croatian citizens to have full labour and residency rights from that date, so the legislation needs a fairly swift enactment. If the Bill hasn’t finished its passage by 1:45pm, a guillotine vote will be called.

James Reilly begins the afternoon session with Questions to the Minister for Health, before Leaders’ Questions at 3:15pm and the more sedate Questions to the Taoiseach for an hour at around 3:40pm.

The rest of the day’s agenda is debated in the order of business at around 4:40pm, before 65 minutes are set aside to discuss the European Council summit taking place later this week.

That means the debate on four topical issues gets pushed back to about 6:15pm, so there’s a little less time left over to debate the abolition of the Seanad which will become the talking point from around 7pm onwards.

There’s a 90-minute interruption from 7:30pm – to deal with Fianna Fáil’s demand for a reversal in resource teaching and SNA cuts – but with a vote on that deferred until tomorrow night, the main business of the night will come at 10:30pm, when TDs are asked to vote on the proposals for a referendum scrapping the Seanad.

How many of the government’s backbenchers will jump ship – and set themselves up for a more spirited campaign against the abortion plans? We’ll know at 10:42pm this evening.

All of the day’s Dáil business can be viewed here.

SEANAD

The usual 75-minute plenary discussion on anything-and-everything in the order of business (2:30pm) is followed by debate on the proposed amendments to the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2013, which gives legal effect to the Budget 2013 changes.

More amendments are on the agenda at 6pm, when James Reilly is in to steer the Health (Amendment) Bill 2013 – the one which could see private health insurers facing massive charges if their clients use beds in a public hospital.

From 5:45pm Brendan Howlin pops in to discuss possible amendments to the Public Service Management Bill, which forms part of the public service efficiency regime and makes it easier to reassign staff between public agencies.

All of the day’s Seanad business can be viewed here.

COMMITTEES

Only three public meetings to kick off the week:

  • The committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation meets Ian Talbot, the chief executive of Chambers Ireland, at 1:30pm. He’ll be putting forward the group’s ‘Alternative Ten Point Plan for Micro and SMEs‘. Once he’s done, the horse-trading for Budget 2014 gets underway when IBEC’s Danny McCoy makes his case for no new taxes. (Watch here.)
  • The Fisheries sub-committee meets at 2pm when fishermen will discuss a management plan for Ireland’s Atlantic fish stocks, and rules that might apply to small inshore vessels. (Watch here.)
  • Finally, the Transport sub-committee welcomes Leo Varadkar in at 2:30pm when the minister asks for a revised Budget allocation to run his Department for the rest of the year. (Watch here.)

Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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