Dáil return January 16, 2013Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Uncategorized.
Today, the Spring 2013 and sixth session of the 31st Dáil.
2012 was a record year with the lower house sitting a herculean 123 days. Longest year since foundation of the State and much of it marked by application of the guillotine that left even the eyes of Fianna Fáil to water across the chamber.
Some bills to watch between now and Easter
Further Education and Training Authority (SOLAS) Bill – The dissolution of FÁS. Minister Burton will be one to watch as plans to farm out her Department’s work to the private sector get under way. G4S, Serco, A4E and perhaps some indigenous pretender could be on the horizon.
Consumer and Competition Bill – The merger of the National Consumer Agency and Competition Authority. Statutory code of conduct for the grocery goods sector and the long, long awaited decision on media ownership. The advisory report on media mergers (completed back in 2008) can be read here.
Industrial Development (Micro-enterprise and Small Business) Bill – Appears the tantrum over at ISME has paid off and following the scrapping of the CEB, their remit will remain under Enterprise.
Workplace Relations Bill – another ‘one stop shop’ with amalgamation of the Labour Relations Commission, National Employment Rights Authority and crucially, the Equality Tribunal under the Workplace Relations Commission with all the implications for rights and discrimination that may entail. We do know it’s likely to include the – helpfully Ibec suggested – €50 fee for employment appeals (to discourage spurious claims you see).
There will be bigger fish to fry of course but it can be taken as a taste of what’s in store. At least one Labour Deputy was paying attention so we must wait and see what Bruton has come up with.
Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Bill – merger of the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority, both having already seen budgets halved. Naill Crowley had more detail and analysis last year.
You will have noticed a common theme running through the above. Other items will dominate headlines but the slash & burn is well under way. More jobs disappearing and the real privatisation, outsourcing and asset stripping is yet to even begin, though soon enough.
This session will also see publication of the Whistleblower Bill and Brendan Howlin’s attempt to sneak past Abbeylara.
John Halligan, Richard Boyd Barrett and Mattie McGrath will be doing questions for the Technical Group so Enda will need some fresh non sequiturs. The group are on their third rotation of these positions now and almost two years in are yet to see one of the four female members question the Taoiseach.
Dáil kicks off with Leaders Questions at 10:30am and I believe Tom Hayes’ social media action force committee will be meeting in private session this morning. Foreign media focus and a few contradictions look likely to turn today’s horse meat disaster into a very unwelcome headache for a Government which places so much value on reputation.