People Before Profit claim offshore drilling ban plan has been blocked by Government

People Before Profit claim offshore drilling ban plan has been blocked by Government
Bríd Smith

People Before Profit has claimed the Government has enacted a little-known parliamentary rule to scupper its bill aimed at banning oil and gas drilling in Irish waters.

According to the party's TD Bríd Smith, who is behind the Climate Emergency Measures Bill, Junior Natural Resources Minister Seán Canney and the Ceann Comhairle have agreed the bill requires a so-called 'money message'.

Such a requirement, or order, stops a bill from progressing to committee stage for debate. The order is made on the grounds of the Government feeling that the passing of proposed legislation would have a cost implication for the State.

If the Department of Natural Resources and Climate Action does not issue such a message the bill cannot proceed.

Ms Smith said there had been no request for a money message when she first introduced the anti-offshore drilling bill early last year. The bill was due before the Dáil select committee for debate on June 11.

Ms Smith called the move "an attack on democracy" and said it exposes the Government's "utter hypocrisy on climate action".

"[It] gives two fingers to the electorate's green wave...The government has shown itself to be merely concerned with climate PR and greenwashing rather than taking radical and affirmative action on the ever more urgent climate crisis and the desperate need for CO2 reduction," she said.

Ms Smith also claimed that only two existing drilling licences could be identified as possibly raising an issue of compensation for companies affected and that the committee stage could deal with such issues.

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