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Seanad reform is cosmetic and elitist -Cullinane

26 November, 2013 - by David Cullinane TD

Speaking today on the Government’s plan to give all third-level graduates a vote in future Seanad elections, Sinn Fein spokesperson on political reform Senator David Cullinane said,
“In the light of the recent campaign around the abolition of the Seanad and the subsequent rejection of this by the electorate, extension of the university franchise simply does not go far enough.
“After the defeat of the referendum the Government gave an undertaking to reform the Seanad.
“In other words, they acknowledged that people wanted a reformed house and not abolition.
“The promise of reform was a signal that they respected the wishes of the people.
“But let us be very clear, extension of the university franchise does not constitute meaningful and genuine reform.
“Indeed, one of the very arguments put forward by the Government and Fine Gael in particular in favour of abolition was that the Seanad was elitist and dysfunctional.
“Extending the franchise to all third level graduates does nothing to alter this situation or to challenge the elitist nature of the Upper House.
“We need a properly reformed Seanad, one that is democratic, accountable and egalitarian and that works in the best interests of good governance.
“Piecemeal, cosmetic change reinforces elitism. We need to bring an end to elitism.
“Extending the vote to everyone is the first step towards real reform.”

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