The Government has been accused of "sabotaging and subverting the democratic and legislative process" by stalling the progress of opposition legislation through the use of the little-known "money message" rule.

A money message is a recommendation from the Government, signed by the Taoiseach, supporting the expenditure of public moneys proposed by a Private Members' Bill.

The Government has been accused of stalling the progress of some bills by refusing to sign money messages.

This afternoon in the Dáil, Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett asked: "Why is your Government sabotaging and subverting the democratic and legislative process through the use of money messages on bills that do not involve any levying of taxes, which we are not allowed to do, or spend money."

He accused the Government of abusing the money message across 55 bills.

"In our case a bill passed twice through the Dáil to give access to medicinal cannabis and it was money-messaged or blocked. A bill to stop evictions was blocked with a money message.

"A bill to give objective sex education in schools was blocked with a money message and most recently the Climate Emergency Measures Bill, where the Government have in my opinion misled the Ceann Comhairle claiming there are possible legal actions and fees having to be returned which don't actually exist, in order to block a keep of legislation to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

"Isn't that an abuse and sabotage of the democratic and legislative process?"

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that the Government does not determine if a money message is required or not. He said "that is a determination of the Ceann Comhairle." 

Article 17.2 of the Constitution stipulates that no law which requires public money to be spent shall be passed without the approval of the Government, via a money message signed by the Taoiseach.

In other words, the Taoiseach must give his approval if legislation is going to cost the State money.

According to Mr Boyd Barrett, there are currently 55 bills that have been stalled because so-called 'money messages' were requested.