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Radical change needed in the Seanad – Doherty

20 October, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking in the Seanad on a Fine Gael Bill to allow for more Seanad nominators, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty has said that there is something rotten in the core of the Seanad and that piece-meal changes will in no way address the root of the problem.

The Senator said that the Seanad in its current form is not only a drain on finances but is undemocratic, elitist and an apartheid system that has no place in modern 21st century politics.

Senator Doherty also criticised Fine Gael for on one hand claiming to want to abolish the Seanad while on the other bringing forward legislation for irrelevant changes.

Senator Doherty said:

“There is something rotten in the core of the Seanad and this piece of legislation in no way addresses what is really wrong here and that is that the Seanad totally undemocratic and irrelevant to the day to day lives of ordinary people.

“The public rightly see the Seanad as little more than a talking shop and a drain on the state’s finances. The fact that all one needs to do to be elected a Senator is hand out the goodies and keep a hundred or so councillors happy is a disgrace to democracy.

“What is needed for the Seanad is not piece-meal, token changes such as those contained in this Bill, but real and radical reform and that needs to happen now.

“I have to doubt the sincerity of the Fine Gael party on this issue. On the one hand their party leader calls for the abolition of the Seanad while at the same time the Fine Gael Senators are calling for more nominators. Either Fine Gael is being untruthful here or else the senators simply didn’t get the memo from head office.

“The Seanad in its current form should be abolished. Urgent and radical reform is needed in order to transform the Seanad into an institution that works for the people. Anything other than that is a waste of time.” ENDS

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