Extinction Rebellion and Not Here, Not Anywhere
People Before Profit is supporting an important protest at the Dail next Tuesday over the undemocratic tricks Varadkar’s government is using to stop votes on important new laws.
The protest has been triggered by the fact that a bill to ban fossil fuel exploration received majority support from TDs in its second reading in the Dail. Fine Gael and the Fianna Fail Ceann Comhairle are trying to kill it off before it is passed into law by an obscure measure known as ‘a money message’.
Money messages are being widely used by the Government to stop opposition bills from becoming law.
There are 53 opposition bills that have won a majority vote in the Dail and which should become law. They include Bills from People before Profit/Solidarity that would :
- Ban exploration for fossil fuels in Irelands (Climate Emergency Measures Bill)
- Make medicinal cannabis available for people who suffer from chronic pain and other health issues (Medicinal Cannabis Bill)
- Deliver non-religious comprehensive sex education
- Stop economic evictions of tenants during the housing crisis.
The trick by Government stems from a little used Standing Order. This says that any new bill that imposes a cost must get a “Money Message” from the Government before it can become law.
In the past, when Governments had a majority of TDs it was never used as all Bills and laws would only come from the Government. Now, as they are a minority it is possible for opposition bills to become law.
The Government claim that any new law which needs public money must get there approval. They quote Article 17.2 of the constitution which says; .
Dáil Éireann shall not pass any vote or resolution, and no law shall be enacted, for the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys unless the purpose of the appropriation shall have been recommended to Dáil Éireann by a message from the Government signed by the Taoiseach.
This is to stop any Bills being passed which needs the allocation of public money, so only the Government can raise taxes or allocate public funds.
But the constitution was not meant to be used to stop new laws which only had incidental or indirect costs. Instead the Government are relying on an interpretation of the constitution that is in the Dail Standing Orders, that says;
The Committee Stage of a Bill which involves the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys, including incidental expenses, shall not be taken unless the purpose of the appropriation has been recommended to the Dáil by a Message from the Government. The text of any Message shall be printed on the Order Paper.
So they have used this clause to stop the Occupied Territories bill that would ban goods from occupied settlements in Palestine as this would need the Government to hire extra customs staff.
In essence all bills are stopped as there is always some potential incidental costs.
They are also stopping the Climate Emergency bill under the pretense that they may have to compensate oil and gas exploration companies as the ban might hurt their profits and potential earnings.
In fact they have no right to any compensation and the Government knows it, but they pretend they could be sued and might have to hire legal advice. As such they claim the Bill needs a money message. Which they then refuse to give !
In this way they can stop new laws that have a majority of TDs supporting it and are supported by the majority of the public.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Explain to friends, neighbours and workmates what is happening.
- Share our publicity on social media.
- Join the Protest at the Dail on Tuesday 9th July 5.30.
If you want to join People Before Profit, text JOIN to 0872839964.