Government ministers yesterday approved submitting a "reasoned response" to People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith to explain why the Government is using a money message to block her Climate Emergency Measures Bill.

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.

Cabinet has decided not to issue a money message on the controversial bill, effectively blocking its further progress.

The legislation spearheaded by Ms Smith seeks to ban oil and gas exploration in Irish waters.

If passed it would limit the issuing of new licences for the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels in Ireland.

The bill was due to proceed to committee stage last month but the Government said it needed a 'money message', which would require Government support in order for it to pass. 

A Government spokesman confirmed that it was decided at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that a "reasoned response" will now be submitted by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to Ms Smith.

Minister Richard Bruton is also expected to address the issue that the People Before Profit TD has been heavily critical of.

She said the news that Mr Bruton will refuse to issue a money message for her Bill shows "the utter hypocrisy of the Government on climate and renders null and void any other measure in the Climate Action Plan".

She added: "If we can't stop new exploration for fossil fuels while knowing that 80% of existing reserves need to stay in the ground then we will never limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.

"Nothing else this government announces on climate can be taking seriously if they continue to support looking for more reserves of fossil fuels."

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

Two weeks' ago Ms Smith’s party colleague, Richard Boyd Barrett, accused the Government 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.

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