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Unionist TCD Seanad Candidate to debate Sinn Fein NUI Seanad

14 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 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.”

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