Friday, 18 December 2020
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
It is funny that we are talking about reflections and so forth. This day last year was my last day in Leinster House as a member of staff, after seven years. I finished to focus on the general election that I hoped would be called in the summer but it was called about two weeks later. If it had not been called, we would have gone straight into Covid-19 and many of us would not be sitting here. None of the new Senators would be here because the previous Government would still be in place. It is funny how things work out.
I wish to compliment my colleagues on the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action and the chairperson, Deputy Brian Leddin. This morning, the committee published its pre-legislative scrutiny report on the Climate Action Bill, which is landmark legislation. It is so important that we are putting it through in the first 100 days of this Government. We have started that process strongly and I hope that this report will inform all Oireachtas Members about the legislation. It sets ambitious targets in terms of carbon budgets and strengthens oversight of climate policy by the Oireachtas. The Bill seeks to change the role and composition of the climate strategy advisory committee and sets out strong national objectives up to 2050. It is landmark legislation and I compliment all my colleagues on the committee and particularly my Seanad colleagues who have worked incredibly hard over the past ten weeks to get this report through. We have been meeting every day and have heard really important expert witness testimony which fed into report. This will undoubtedly benefit the legislation. The vast majority of the report was put together without votes. We only voted yesterday morning on certain issues where we could not reach agreement but the vast majority of it was put together through cross-party co-operation, give and take and trying to understand the needs of both Opposition and Government. That type of collegial politics is lacking in these Houses sometimes. We could do with a lot more of it but it was certainly evident in how the committee worked over the past ten weeks.