What we are asking TDs to do to stand up for their right to legislate.
June 11 2019, 10:01am
This is the email Stop Climate Chaos supporters are sending their TDs today:
As a voter in your constituency, I'm dismayed to hear the Government is once again seeking to thwart the will of the Dáil regarding the Climate Emergency Bill which would end the issuing of new licences for oil and gas exploration.
On the 28th March this year the Dáil voted by 82 votes to 54 to send this Bill to a Select Committee of TDs for Third Stage debate and amendment.
The Committee was due to have that debate today, Tuesday 11th June 2019. However, at the last minute the Government asserted to the Ceann Comhairle that the Bill could not proceed without a "money message". This despite the fact the Bills Office last year had decided that no money message is required.
The new determination is going to be reviewed by the Business Committee with the Ceann Comhairle on Thursday. But unless the Government's claim is overruled by the Cean Comhairle the Government now has a veto on the Bill.
The Government is abusing an arcane parliamentary procedure to prevent TDs from doing their job.
It is clear from the correspondence between the Government and the Ceann Comhairle that there is no substantial money issue here. The costs associated with the Bill are disputed and at most amount to less than €2 million. Moreover, it took 15 months from the Bill passing second stage in February 2018 for the Government to suddenly discover these costs they claim require a money message. And they only discovered them their efforts to stall the Bill at scrutiny stage failed and after the Government lost the vote to send the Bill to Third Stage.
It is clear that the Government's manoeuvre is not motivated by genuine concerns regarding potential financial implications of the Bill but is intended simply and definitively to block TDs from progressing a Bill the Government does not support but does not have the votes to defeat.
This is simply undemocratic.
As my democratically elected representative in Dáil Eireann I am writing to you to urge you to stand up for TDs' right to legislate.
I am asking you to make a representation on my behalf to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urging him to reconsider the Government's assertion of a veto over this Bill. Will you ask him to consider withdrawing the claim that the Bill needs a money message or alternatively that the Government issues a money message and allows the Bill proceed to Third Stage.
Any genuine issues the Government has with the Bill, either on costs grounds or on energy security grounds can be most effectively dealt with by discussions between the parties and appropriate amendments at Select Committee and Report Stages.
The Government recently supported a Dáil motion declaring a climate emergency. They will have no credibility on climate if they won't even let TDs debate what a climate emergency means in practice for oil and gas extraction.
Please let me know what you have done regarding my representation as soon as practicable