Sinn Fein Senator David Cullinane has expressed dismay at the announcement that the Seanad will sit only two days this week, next week and possibly the week after.
Senator Cullinane said:
“This is outrageous. I know of no other job where people can show up for work for two day and still receive their full pay.
“Last week Seanad Maurice Cummins said that due to the lack of legislation or motions, the Seanad would only sit on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
“He also said it was difficult to get Ministers to come into the Seanad and answer questions, as they were busy with their Dáil work.
“We have now been informed that the same may well happen again next week, and the week after that.
“This is an absolute disgrace and gives the impression the Seanad is full of dossers who show up now and then.
"I do not accept Senator Cummins’s lame excuse.
"In the recent referendum the proposal to abolish the Seanad was clearly rejected by the people. This however, was not an endorsement for business as usual.
"The onus is now firmly on the shoulders of Fine Gael and Labour to reform the Seanad and make it fit for purpose in a modern democracy. Three months on, the failure of the government to begin such reforms is an insult to the democratic process and to the wishes of the people.
"The fact that the Seanad is now only sitting two days a week is the result of this failure to act.
"It is not good enough for Senator Cummins to say the Seanad has nothing to discuss. Have people in Fine Gael, Senator Cummins’s party not heard of floods; emigration; poverty; child welfare; youth unemployment; workers’ rights; homelessness; housing lists; people on hospital trolleys?
"Neither is it acceptable for him to hide behind the excuse that it is difficult to get Ministers to come into the Seanad. Government Ministers are accountable to both the Dáil and the Seanad and are obliged to answer questions in the Seanad, when required to do so.
"The people voted for a reformed Seanad, the government should respect this. We need reform of the Seanad and we need it now."