Seven years after first being proposed at government level, a climate change Bill moved a large step closer to becoming reality yesterday when it was included in the priority list of Government legislation.
The long-awaited Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill was included among the 30 Bills on the “A” list in the legislation programme for autumn 2014.
This essentially means these Bills are earmarked for publication before Christmas, with the likelihood that they will pass through the Oireachtas and be enacted during 2015.
An overdue milestone
The inclusion of climate change on the list was widely welcomed as an overdue “milestone” by civic society groups campaigning for climate justice, including Friends of the Earth, Concern, Trócaire,
and Stop Climate Chaos.
It was also welcomed by Michael McCarthy, the Labour TD and chair of the Oireachtas environment committee, who has long pressed for the legislation.
The list, published by chief whip Paul Kehoe, also includes several other major statutory measures, including a ground-breaking gender recognition Bill, as well as two pieces of industrial relations legislation to address issues surrounding collective bargaining and registered employment agreements.
However, some 11 of the 30 Bills are carry-overs from earlier this year and some four of them have been on the A list for more than a year without being published. They include the Horse Racing Ireland Act, the Maritime and foreshore Bill, the Official Languages Bill and the Mineral Developments Bill.
Big Bills languish
Some substantial Bills carried over from last term remain to be published. They include the
Judicial Council Bill
, which will allow a mechanism to deal with cases of judges who misbehave or who fail to adhere to judicial standards.
There is also the Children and Families Relationship Bill, which reforms the laws relating to guardianship, custody, access, parentage as well as the issues of assisted reproduction and surrogacy. It will also permit the use of DNA to establish parentage.
Mr Kehoe said yesterday that 191 Bills had been published in the first 3½ years of the Government’s terms, an increase of some 40 on the previous government during the same time period.