Dublin Port not yet ready for Brexit, Cabinet told

Ministers approve Climate Action Bill which will set annual carbon emissions targets

The Climate Action Bill will set in law the principle of carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Climate Action Bill will set in law the principle of carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

Dublin Port is not yet ready for the looming Brexit deadline and needs another inspection facility, the Cabinet has heard.

On Tuesday Ministers discussed how prepared Irish ports and airports are infrastructurally. The Cabinet was told that while airports were on target, and Rosslare Port is also prepared, an inspection facility is still needed in Dublin Port.

Minister were updated on the looming Brexit deadline and a number of “high-level risks” that have been identified, including potential delays and blockages at UK ports for Irish operators.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is due to introduce a new Brexit omnibus Bill in the coming weeks to prepare Ireland for the changes that will arise at the end of the transition period.The Bill will consist of 21 parts under the remit of 11 Ministers.

Climate Action Bill

Elsewhere, the Cabinet approved the Climate Action Bill, which will lead to annual carbon emissions targets being set for different parts of the economy. The Bill is set to be published later on Wednesday before going for a period of about two week’s pre-legislative scrutiny. It will set in law the principle of carbon neutrality by 2050, with carbon budgets every five years designated by the Climate Action Council. It will also strengthen the role of the advisory council.

These targets will be broken down year by year, with the government of the day tasked with setting sectoral targets for different parts of the economy, such as agriculture and transport.

It will also put in place a lot of the “governance architecture” for overseeing implementation, and is designed to send a signal about the State’s intended policy direction to investors and different sectors of the economy, a Government source said. The first climate emission budget is expected in 2021.

The Bill also outlines a number of other plans for national and sectoral adaptation, as well as details on how local authorities will achieve emission reductions.

Affordable healthcare

The Cabinet also approved a range of affordable healthcare measures, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said in a statement. The measures allow for increases in the over-70s medical card income limits, a reduction in the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold by €10 to €114 per month and provide for a 50 cent reduction in prescription charges for all medical holders. The drug payment scheme threshold was €144 per month when first introduced.

The funding will allow for the over-70s medical card income limits to be increased to €550 per week for a single person from the current level of €500 per week and to €1,050 for a couple, from the current level of €900 per week. Under the prescription charge changes, eligible people under 70 will pay a maximum of €15 per month for prescribed medicine, while those over 70 will pay a maximum of €10 per month.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also decided to increase the national minimum wage for adults is to be increased by 10 cent per hour to €10.20 from the beginning of January next year . Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said that more than 120,000 workers would benefit from the increase.

The proposal was based on a recommendation submitted to the Government by the Low Pay Commission last month. However, it came after trade union representatives walked out in protest .