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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland The Seanad today votes on a Bill from Senator Feargal Quinn, and others, which affirms some minimum employment rights for workers - even if they do not have work permits.
Leinster House

Oireachtas agenda: CIE debts, employment rights, abortion vote

Today’s business at Leinster House will include a debate on employment rights for immigrants of questionable working status.

WHAT ARE OUR politicians doing in the halls of Leinster House? lets you know with our guide to what’s coming up to the Dáil, the Seanad and in the various Oireachtas committees today.


The day begins with the usual high-profile batch of Leaders’ Questions at 10:30am, and is followed at 11:20am by Dáil statements on last week’s European Council meeting – at which EU leaders failed to strike a deal on the union’s budget from 2014 to 2020 (meaning discussions will continue into Ireland’s presidency).

Arts minister Jimmy Deenihan is the cabinet minister taking questions after lunch; that’s followed by debate on new legislation to regulate the credit union sector, and (if there’s time) more debate on a Bill to amend the Dáil constituencies and cut the number of TDs by eight.

The final item is the renewed debate on Clare Daly’s Bill which aims to legislate for abortions under the provisions of the Supreme Court ruling in the X Case. It’ll be debated from 7:30pm until 9pm, when there’ll be a vote on whether to progress it.

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


There’s two main items on today’s agenda – the first being debates on amendments to a Leo Varadkar bill which will raise the legal limit of debts which can be incurred by CIE (from €103 million to €300 million). They’ll be debated from 11:45pm.

The second matter, being debated for two hours from 3:30pm, is a Bill from senators Feargal Quinn, Sean Barrett and John Crown. Their Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill aims to overturn a recent legal precedent by ensuring that the working status of non-Irish citizens does not stop employers from exercising their usual responsibilities to them. If the government challenges the legislation, it’ll call a vote at 5:30pm.

Seanad proceedings can be watched here.


There’s also four public committee meetings taking place:

  • The Education and Social Protection committee will meet at 1pm to hear from officials from the Higher Education Authority, and the Department of Education and Skills, on a general overview of possible reforms in third-level education. (Watch here.)
  • The Justice committee gets together at 9:45pm to discuss a European report on the effects of bank guarantees on individual EU member states. The full report is here – and given the effect on Ireland, members might be paying close attention. (Watch here.)
  • The sub-committee on Public Expenditure and Reform will play host to Brendan Howlin at 2pm, as the minister seeks the approval of extra Budget funds to cover Superannuation and Retired Allowances. The State’s pension bill for 2012 is slightly higher than anticipated because of the massive number of retirements last February. (Watch here.)
  • The Committee on Transport and Communications will meet with two incoming chairmen of infrastructural bodies: Cormac O’Rourke, the incoming head of the National Roads Authority and Railway Procurement Agency, and with Brendan Newsome who will shortly be made chair of the Wicklow Port Company. (Watch here.)‘s one to watch

The Dáil debate on Clare Daly’s Bill will reach its climax when members vote in a straightforward question of whether to accept the Bill and allow it to be carried any further. Unlike Sinn Féin’s motion last week, members will have no opportunity to vote for a government alternative: they’ll simply have to choose whether they wish to allow abortion under the X Case terms, or whether they would rather await government instruction.

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