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Unionist TCD Seanad Candidate to debate Sinn Fein NUI Seanad Candidate

19 April, 2011

Jeffrey Dudgeon (Unionist TCD Seanad candidate) and Eoin Ó Broin (Sinn Fein NUI Seanad candidate) are holding an evening of discussion on Irish politics, North South relations and the future of the Seanad. The debate will take place on tonight Tuesday 19th April at 7pm in the Georgian Suite, Buswells Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. The meeting is open to the public.

Speaking in advance of the debate, Mr Dudgeon said:

“The freedom granted by the 1998 referendum in the south, when the claim to Northern Ireland was dropped, allows me to debate with Sinn Fein and test their politics, and most importantly, their historical justifications. As someone who has researched and written about the origins of 20th century Republicanism in Belfast, I am well qualified to take up any challenge posed by Eoin Ó Broin.

“With a decade of centenaries looming, not to mention imminent state visits, and the collapse of so many of Ireland's icons, there is no better time for the Seanad to have more dissenting members, even a liberal unionist. I am not opposed to its university representation being retained, so long as the franchise is extended to all graduates. Senators from Trinity have served Ireland and its minorities well. A counter balance is needed to the Dail, but not a replica."

Speaking in advance of the event Mr Ó Broin said:

“Sinn Féin has long called for the abolition of the Seanad in its current form. However we also believe that there is value in creating a completely new upper house of the Oireachtas, elected by universal suffrage, the aim of which is to provide a platform for all sections of society to scrutinize government legislation and policy and hold the government to account. Such a forum should aim to provide representation from civil society organisations, sectoral interests, minorities and those too often excluded from mainstream political debate. Next week's debate with TCD Seanad candidate Jeffrey Dudgeon is taking place in this spirit, where a republican and a unionist can discuss our differing views of the future of Irish politics, north south relations and political reform."


Note to editor:

Jeffrey Dudgeon is a liberal unionist and the successful plaintiff at the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg whose judgment relating to the right to a private life led to the passing of the 1982 law decriminalising male homosexual behaviour in Northern Ireland. This was a European first. He is the author of Roger Casement: The Black Diaries - With a Study of his Background, Sexuality, and Irish Political Life. He is standing for the Seanad to be an alternative voice from Northern Ireland, reflecting our agreement to differ on the island. For more information go to

Eoin Ó Broin is a Sinn Fein activist and Ard Comhairle member from Clondalkin, Dublin. A former Belfast City Councilor he currently works as a policy analyst for a housing charity. Eoin holds an MA in Irish Politics from Queens University Belfast for which he was awarded the John Whyte Memorial Prize. Eoin is also the author of Matxinada – Basque Nationalism and Radical Basque Youth Movements (2003) and Sinn Fein and the Politics of Left Republicanism (2009). A Better Ireland – Arguments for a new republic will be published later this year. For more information go to

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