People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith is planning to bring a legal challenge over the Government’s decision to block her Climate Emergency Measures Bill.
The bill has twice been backed by a majority of Dáil TDs; however, the Government is bringing a rarely-used Parliamentary rule into play to block it from moving forward.
Under the Constitution any piece of legislation that could cost the State money requires a “money message” signed by the Taoiseach.
By refusing to issue the money message, the Government is ensuring the bill cannot move forward to Committee – essentially leaving it dead in the water.
The use of the rule to block legislation is almost unprecedented in the past 50 years, largely because the majority of sitting Governments have commanded a stable majority.
Bríd Smith TD @bridsmithTD said that Minister Richard Bruton's refusal to issue a money message for @pb4p #ClimateEmergencyBill shows 'utter hypocrisy of the Government on climate and renders null and void any other measure in the Climate Action Plan.'https://t.co/y3cIT5wfJe
— People Before Profit (@pb4p) July 5, 2019
Deputy Smith said she will be taking legal advice on how to respond to move.
“The arguments they are making are utterly and totally flawed,” she said.
“There are a number of ways in which the blocking of this bill is both immoral and inappropriate.
“It doesn’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny so we will be talking tomorrow to legal advisers and to other groups – it won’t be just me or People Before Profit; there will be many groups involved in this legal challenge.”
The Bill would make Ireland the fifth country in the world to ban oil and gas exploration. It hit the headlines in February last year after singer Cher gave it her backing.
Just got Climate Inaction Ministers "reasoned response" for blocking the Climate Emergency Bill; apparently the Bill is "not reasoned, prudent or appropriate" so after EU heatwave, historic June temps and historic artic and Antartic melting we should keep searching for more C02. pic.twitter.com/wUp1o8L1yg
— Brid Smith TD (@bridsmithTD) July 4, 2019
Deputy Smith said the Government is subverting democracy by refusing to sign the money message.
She said the bill itself requires only incidental costs and said lawyers will examine the grounds the Ceann Comhairle’s office used to refuse approval.
“Because they have scuppered that bill, anything they do relation to climate action is hypocritical, inadequate and really does not stand up to scrutiny,” she said.
“We are not going to sit down and let this happen; we are not going to sit back and say that it is OK.
“There are several grounds for it. One is obvious grounds of the lack of democracy and the way that the bill and me as sponsor of it were treated by the processes in the Ceann Comhairle’s office.”
Deputy Smith is urging climate activists to join the ‘Not Here Not Anywhere’ protest against the decision outside the Dáil this coming Tuesday at 5:30pm.