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Sinn Féin calls for Seanad reform

10 October, 2014 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform has announced that the party’s Private Member’s Time in the Dáil will be used to call for reform of the Seanad. Publishing the Sinn Féin Dáil motion, Deputy McDonald highlighted the pressing need for such reform while criticising Government reluctance to take action.

Deputy McDonald stated:

“The Taoiseach gave a commitment last year to reform the Seanad and the political system. That commitment has not been honoured. That commitment was broken.

“The Seanad, as the second House should have the power to hold the government to account. Unfortunately as it stands it is undemocratic, unrepresentative and unproductive. This is simply unacceptable.

“Sinn Féin has tabled a motion outlining how the Seanad can be reformed to become more inclusive of society, representing all the people of Ireland, not just a privileged minority.

“Sinn Féin has also called for greater accountability in the Seanad, as well as the introduction of direct election for candidates of the House.

“Now is our opportunity to ensure the Seanad is a place where unjust or regressive legislation can be challenged.

“Sinn Féin is seeking all-party support for our motion which is designed to make the Seanad relevant, and have a positive impact on the lives of ordinary people.”

Text of the motion below:

-Acknowledges that the citizens of this State rejected the Governments constitutional amendment to abolish the Seanad through referendum vote in October 2013.

-Recognises that all participants and parties involved in the referendum campaign were clear in agreeing that the Seanad in its current form is elitist, undemocratic and unacceptable.

-Notes that An Taoiseach gave a commitment in October 2013 post-referendum to reform the political system and ensure that the Seanad is a modern and effective Second Chamber, yet has abjectly failed to deliver that commitment.

Calls on the Government to:

-Immediately engage with all parties and groups within the Oireachtas, but also broader civic society, to consider how best to reform the Seanad to ensure that it becomes a fully inclusive, representative and accountable institution.

-Introduce direct election by way of universal franchise of all Irish citizens.

-Introduce northern and diasporic representation.

-Introduce 50% women members.

-Ensure representation of marginalised minority groups within Irish society.

Gerry Adams, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Jonathan O'Brien, Michael Colreavy, Seán Crowe, Pearse Doherty, Dessie Ellis, Martin Ferris, Mary Lou McDonald, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Sandra McLellan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín.

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