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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019

'Shenanigans' - Dáil suspended twice after TDs row over fossil fuel Bill

People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett accused the government of ‘dancing to the tune of fossil fuel companies’.


THE DÁIL WAS suspended twice today following a row over proposed laws that would ban the granting of any further oil and fossil fuel exploration licences.

People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett accused the government of blocking TD Bríd Smith’s Bill for “political reasons because the Taoiseach and government do not support its contents”. 

He accused the government of “dancing to the tune of fossil fuel companies”, adding that procedures are being used to “hold hostage” the Bill. 

“You think you can get away with this by shenanigans,” he proclaimed. 

The Bill calls for a ban on fossil fuel exploration off the Irish coast and aims to stop the issuing of any new licences for the exploration of fossil fuels.

The government lost a vote on the proposed legislation last February, which allowed it to proceed to Committee Stage in the Oireachtas, despite the government’s opposition.

The passing of the Bill puts Ireland on a path to being the fourth country in the world to ban fossil fuel exploration. 

Costa Rica, Belize and France have already implemented similar measures.

At a private meeting of the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment Committee this week, the vote was tied on whether to have a report on the proposed Bill sent back to the Dáil, therefore blocking its progression through the Houses.

There were heated scenes in the Dáil toda when Boyd Barrett first angered Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl when he said the government was deliberately delaying the legislation, stating that committee members on the Oireachtas Environment Committee were being used to block the Bill. 

He said it was a “sabotaging of the democratic process” of the Dáil, stating that the House voted “overwhelmingly” to pass the legislation last year. 

row Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher threatens to suspend the Dáil for the day. Source: Oireachtas TV

“This is a very serious abuse of the democratic process of this Dáil,” he added. 

The Ceann Comhairle suspended the Dáil for five minutes, but when it resumed, it was then suspended for a second time, when Boyd Barrett raised a point of order, and refused to sit down when Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat the Cope Gallagher was standing. 

The Leas Ceann Comhairle then threatened to suspend the Dáil for the entire day. The House was suspended for ten minutes. “It is you that are responsible for the abuse, not us,” said Bríd Smith. 

Last October, Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources Seán Canney dismissed the Climate Emergency Measures Bill, describing it as “extremely worrying”. 

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