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Government lagging behind public on Seanad abolition — Doherty

3 January, 2011

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has reiterated his call for the abolition of the Seanad.

The Donegal South West TD and former Senator said reports that the Government is considering a referendum on the issue showed that the coalition was again lagging behind public opinion on major issues rather than providing political leadership.

Pearse Doherty said:

“It is now clearer than ever that we need root and branch political reform, aimed at producing a genuinely open and accountable form of Government, which ends the notion of political elites and empowers Irish citizens.

“I am on record for some time now as stating that the Seanad, as it is presently constituted, is elitist aswell as a complete waste of time and taxpayers’ money.

“The current Seanad is an affront to democracy, giving votes to people based on their educational attainment, giving multiple votes to members of local authorities and ensuring a Government majority through 11 Taoiseach’s nominees.

“The Seanad is an expensive talking shop that is completely irrelevant to the daily lives of ordinary working people and should be abolished.

“Abolition should be part of a wider overhaul of the electoral system which would include measures such as the reduction of the voting age to 16, voting rights for Irish citizens living abroad, the holding of elections at weekends, a time limit for the holding of elections and the establishment of an independent Electoral Commission.

“Reports that the present Government, in it’s dying days, is considering a referendum on the issue, is laughable. They have had plenty of opportunity to deal with this matter and have failed to do so.  They have continually failed to lead on any of the issues that concern our citizens.

“Again, on this issue, the Government is lagging behind the public rather than providing political leadership.”


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