Seanad Abolition Bill a sham — Adams
Speaking in the Dáil this evening in relation to the government’s Seanad abolition bill, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said:
“Instead of creating a more effective, transparent accountable democracy, the government wants to abolish the Seanad; cut the number of elected representatives in the Dáil and in local government, and centralise even more power and authority into its hands.
“That’s not real reform. That’s power grabbing. More power for government – less accountability and democracy and fewer checks and balances against political abuse and patronage.
Mr Adams said that Sinn Féin believed that was possible to have a Seanad that is an elected forum for civic society – particularly for those sectors not adequately represented in the Dáil and more marginalised sections of our community.
“This is the kind of real reform we should be debating. Look around this Dáil chamber. Is it truly representative of Irish Society? It’s overwhelmingly male, middle-aged, white, Catholic and heterosexual. A reformed Seanad could address this imbalance.”
The Sinn Féin leader said that Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil all had decades in which to reform the system but failed:
“You’re now papering over the cracks and presenting this abolition Bill as reform. It’s not. It’s a sham.
“Sinn Féin put forward a reasonable proposal that the Constitutional Convention should look at reform of the Oireachtas. It could properly tease out all these issues with the aim of achieving the best checks and balances and the most democratic outcome for our system of government.
“You’ve refused to do this. You’re afraid of a real debate. Taoiseach, why the rush to hold a referendum? Why the rush to abolish? Let’s get it right. Let’s put in place a reform package that is meaningful, sustainable, democratic and effective. Sinn Féin would support such an approach. But what we will not do Taoiseach is support this Bill.”