Long-awaited legislation on climate change will be published by Easter, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said.
Mr Hogan has told the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment that some revisions need to be made to the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, but that he expects it to be completed and published by the middle of April next year.
He also told the committee that one of the central components of the legislation will be set up on an ad hoc basis in the next few weeks.
That is an independent expert committee which will advise the Government on climate changes policy and adherence to targets and commitments.
The Minister was responding to questions from Labour Party Deputy Kevin Humphreys who said that the independence of the committee was “a vital measure”.
Mr Hogan responded that Mr Humphreys would “not find the Minister for the Environment wanting on that issue”, an indication that he would respect its independence.
He also gave assurance to independent TD Catherine Murphy that the expert committee would be modelled on the Fiscal Advisory Committee, the group of five independent economists which advises the Government on economic policy.
Mr Hogan indicated that the reason publication of the legislation was being delayed slightly was that some of the recommendations of the committee were being taken on board.
Last month, the committee and its chair Michael McCarthy published a report that made no recommendations on the controversial absence of 2050 targets for emissions reductions in the Bill.
However, it did make a number of significant suggestions for legislative change.
It put a substantial emphasis on the expert advisory body, insisting on full independence and a robust reporting mechanism, as well as it being modelled on the Fiscal Advisory Council.