Government refuses to name a date for climate law debate
28 May 2009
Greens miss vote and "must now deliver a Government bill"
The Government today refused to set a date for an Oireachtas debate on a proposed climate change law and voted down an opposition proposal to debate it immediately in the Seanad. Green party senators and MEP candidates, Dan Boyle and Deirdre de Burca, were not in the chamber for the vote which the Government carried by 25 votes to 18. Earlier this week Green Party leader, John Gormley TD, confirmed weekend media reports that his party would make climate change legislation a condition of their continuing in Government after the June 5th elections.
Friends of the Earth director, Oisín Coghlan, said:
"This puts it up to the Greens to deliver a Government bill on climate change. Today's vote was a missed opportunity to show Ireland is committed to a low-carbon recovery that creates green jobs that will last beyond the next boom and bust. If the Government won't progress this independently drafted bill then it's past time they introduced strong climate legislation of their own."
Friends of the Earth published the bill under discussion today in April 2007. The Climate Protection Bill was drafted by Ivana Bacik and introduced in the Seanad when she was elected as an independent Senator in the 2007 General Election. All parties welcomed the bill and the Government promised to provide time for further debate to progress the bill. Since then, however, they have consistently failed to set a date for that debate. This month Senator Bacik made it known that the independent and opposition Senators would call a vote on the issue unless a date was agreed. That vote was today.
Mr Coghlan continued
"The Greens have started talking about the Government introducing a bill. Now it's time to deliver. John Gormley will represent Ireland at the crucial UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year. To have any credibility there he needs to have a strong climate change law passed before he goes."
Since Friends of the Earth launched its campaign for a climate law in 2007 almost 50,000 supporters of Friends of the Earth and the Stop Climate Chaos coalition have taken action calling for a law.