Defeats in the Dáil seem to be running off the government like water off a duck’s back. Last week, they lost votes relating to a call for a review of the National Broadband Plan after eir’s withdrawal from the bidding process and then on the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) Climate Emergency Measures Bill which seeks to ban fossil fuel exploration off the Irish coast.
In the case of the National Broadband Plan, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Denis Naughton, TD, has continued to insist that conducting a review of the bidding process at this stage would only set it back further, despite there only being one remaining bidder, Enet, who now seem to hold most of the aces in negotiations. He is obviously also fearful that any such review would reflect badly on him and, despite the Dáil vote, he is still not agreeing to one.
Meanwhile, the Solidarity-People Before Profit’s Climate Emergency Measures Bill, aimed at stopping the issuing of any new licences for the exploration of fossil fuels, was supported by 78 TDs, including Fianna Fáil’s, with 48 of the government TDs against, and it will now proceed to the Committee Stage in the Oireachtas amid fears that the government will try to block it at a later stage or weaken it with amendments. So much for the democratic will of the people!