Climate change Bill may go to Seanad


THE GOVERNMENT is likely to take the relatively unusual step of introducing the climate change Bill in the Seanad to show it is not using stalling tactics to delay the date of the general election.

Senior Government sources said yesterday that as the Finance Bill will be introduced in the Dáil the climate change legislation could be introduced in the Seanad at the same time, as a means of speeding up the passage of both Bills through the Oireachtas.

The Seanad is not due to started debating the Finance Bill – which gives statutory effect to measures announced in the Budget – until it has completed second stage in the Dáil.

However, a senior Fianna Fáil Minister said yesterday he still did not expect the election to be held before March. Minister for Defence Tony Killeen said he expected it to take at least five or six weeks before the Bill completed its passage through the Dáil, which made it “unlikely” an election could take place before March.

Separately, the climate change Bill led to divisions in Cabinet before its publication just before Christmas. They involved strongly diverging views expressed by the two Green Ministers on the one hand, and a number of Fianna Fáil Ministers and Attorney General Paul Gallagher on the other.

Mr Gallagher expressed some reservations about the justifiability of some of the measures, essentially policy targets which the legislation would enshrine into law.

One Fianna Fáil Minister said the targets being sought by the Green Party exceed European Union emission targets in some instances.

“The planned Bill would have posed difficulties for any future government who would have been handcuffed to them. There was a big difficulty with that.”