Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams has challenged Fianna Fáil Leader Mícheál Martin to a public debate on the referendum to abolish the Seanad.
Deputy Adams said:
“Mícheál Martin now talks about political reform. But he was a key member of a government that refused to hold a by-election in Donegal South West. His government had to be forced by the courts to give citizens in this constituency their right to vote.
“Micheal Martin also fully supported Taoiseach Bertie Ahern when Mr Ahern used the Seanad to reward political cronies. In Mr Martin’s 14 years as a Government Minister, nothing was done to reform the Seanad.
“I note also that Micheal Martin is now citing Northern representation in the Oireachtas for the first time. I welcome this new support, which was committed to in 2006 and subsequently reneged upon by Fianna Fáil.
“Whatever the outcome of the referendum on the Seanad, I would ask both the Government and Fianna Fáil to commit to Northern representation in the Oireachtas.
“In the last election the Fianna Fáil manifesto committed to abolition. They have torn up this commitment in a very cynical publicity driven u-turn.
“I think it is important in terms of public engagement with the Seanad referendum that Micheal Martin publicly debate these important issues with me and I challenge him to do so.”