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20/04/2017

Govt Accused Of 'Time Wasting' With Microbead Ban Bill

A government plan to introduce a Bill banning plastic microbeads has been dismissed as "time wasting" by Labour's spokesperson on Climate Change, Sean Sherlock.

Deputy Sherlock said: "There is no reason for the Government to introduce their own bill.

"We have been promised new politics, but nearly every time a private member's bill comes up for the debate, the Government finds an excuse to block it while promising it's own legislation on the same issue that never sees the light of day.

"Rather than tack something onto an existing bill, Minister Simon Coveney could amend if it so wishes, the Labour Party bill when it will be debated the week the Dail return."

"Labour has carefully considered the question whether EU law would prevent Member States taking action on this issue.

"Articles 34 and 35 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union set out the principle that, as the Single Market is an area without internal borders, restrictions on the movement of goods are not allowed and the free movement of goods should be guaranteed.

"Undoubtedly an Irish ban on the sale of products containing microbeads would have the effect of restricting certain imports but Article 36 of the Treaty goes on to say that Articles 34 and 35 do not preclude prohibitions or restrictions on imports that are justified on grounds of the protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants.

"In other words, the EU Treaty directly acknowledges that national measures can be taken to protect the environment.

"The Government have dragged their feet on this issue for over 5 months since the Green party bill was blocked by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the Seanad. Now is the time to legislate."

(MH/LM)

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