The No campaign this morning exposed the gaping hole at the centre of its argument, as it was unable to provide a single example of any significant thing the Seanad has ever done.
On RTE’s Morning Ireland programme, Democracy Matters Chairman and prominent No campaigner Gary Murphy was repeatedly asked to name a single significant thing the Seanad has ever done and could only offer long pauses.
Speaking after the debate, Fine Gael’s Deputy Director of Elections Regina Doherty said:
“The Seanad is an ineffective, unrepresentative institution, elected by just 1% of the population, whose most significant power is to delay a piece of legislation by 90 days. It hasn’t exercised this power since 1964. By abolishing this institution we can save €20million per year, reduce the number of politicians in line with international best practice and improve our democracy.
“The No campaign’s argument is based on the supposed need to keep the Seanad as a ‘check’ on Government power - ignoring the fact that it has never in fact served this purpose.
“This morning, the credibility gap in the No campaign’s argument was exposed. Gary Murphy is the No campaign’s Chairman and a respected political scientist – and even he was unable to name one significant thing the Seanad has done in its history.
“This is extraordinary: not only could he not name a time when the Seanad acted as a supposed check on Government power, but he couldn’t name one significant thing that the Seanad has done.
“The No campaign is defending an imaginary Seanad that has never existed, and between the Quinn/Zappone Bill and the Crown Bill it can’t even agree on what their ‘fantasy’ Seanad should look like.
“On 4th October I believe the Irish people should reject fantasy and make-believe and vote Yes for a concrete €20million in savings, 60 fewer politicians and improvements to our democracy in line with countries like Sweden and Denmark”.