My Department has played an active part in the development of the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019 and has also been assigned lead and supporting roles in the implementation of a range of actions set out in the Plan. In addition, prior to the finalisation of the Climate Action Plan, I met on a bilateral basis on several occasions with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, who has the lead responsibility for climate change agenda.
My Department’s engagement with the climate agenda is multifaceted. Accordingly, rather than dealing with the issue in recurring weekly meetings as referred to by the Deputy, I and my Department engage actively on the issues involved on a thematic basis, in different meeting/engagement formations, on a regular basis, often multiple times per week as circumstances demand. These arrangements include work undertaken through the Department’s own work programmes, on issues such as Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, the Department’s engagement with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, attendance at which was led by the Secretary General, and through meetings of the relevant Senior Officials Group dealing with climate issues (including the preparation of the Climate Action Plan), chaired by the Department of An Taoiseach, and the associated Cabinet Committee and Cabinet discussions, in which I lead my Department’s participation.
As the Deputy may be aware, the Climate Action Plan provides for its implementation to be overseen by a Delivery Board, chaired by the Department of An Taoiseach and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the first meeting of which is scheduled to take place next week. The Secretary General of my Department will be a member of the Delivery Board, which will report to Cabinet through the relevant Cabinet Committee, in which I will continue to engage actively.