Monday, September 02, 2013

Fine Gael poster campaign gives the people a clear choice on the Seanad referendum

Fine Gael launched its poster campaign for the abolition of the Seanad today (Sunday) with a promise to deal with facts and reality – unlike those that want to retain the Seanad. Speaking at the launch, Fine Gael’s Director of Elections, Richard Bruton, TD, said that the people were being given a simple choice – to abolish the Seanad, or to keep it as it is.

“In Ireland we have 30% more politicians than other similar sized European countries and have an upper House that costs €20m per year to run.

Our posters give the simple facts about the upcoming campaign – the country can save that €20 million a year and reduce the number of national politicians by voting Yes to Abolish the Seanad. We don’t need two chambers of parliament that do almost exactly the same thing.

Abolishing the Seanad will bring us in line with progressive European countries like Denmark, Sweden and Finland – all of which survive perfectly well with one house of parliament and far fewer politicians than Ireland.

“People should not be fooled about the No campaign’s motives to retain the Seanad.

When they talk about reforming the Seanad they really mean ‘keep things the same’.

They know that there has never been any reform of the Seanad in its 75 year existence despite ten different reports being published recommending changes to the Seanad.

“Fine Gael believes that, like every family and business in this country, politics needs to do more with less. That is why on October 4th, the Irish people will be offered a straightforward choice to abolish the Seanad or to keep it.

I am convinced that now is the time to Abolish the Seanad and continue the changes to our political system that this Government has introduced that will ensure that the failings of the past cannot be repeated again.”

Fine Gael’s Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad campaign, Regina Doherty TD, said:

‘It’s important that the Irish people know the facts. This Seanad was elected by just 1% of the population. It duplicates almost everything the Dáil does, and has no real powers of its own. It isn’t any kind of check on the Government or the Dail.

It can’t stop legislation, it can only delay it, and it hasn’t done that for 50 years. As recently as last Friday, the No campaign couldn’t think of a single significant thing the Seanad has ever done. It’s up to the people to decide if we really want or need a mirror image of the Dáil, which has almost no power, and which most people aren’t even allowed to vote for.”

1 comment:

Ken Westmoreland said...

If the Nordic countries you mention are progressive, that has more to do with them than with their constitutional arrangements. The Netherlands and Belgium have bicameral parliaments, and have been just as 'progressive' as the Nordic countries.

While Finland is a republic now, its unicameral parliament (the first in Europe to grant universal suffrage) was set up when it was still a Grand Duchy of Russia.

If you want a unicameral parliament on the cheap, look to New Zealand, which has a 120-seat House of Representatives elected by proportional representation (admittedly using the vile mixed member system with lists, although it could have been elected by STV like the Dáil.) And there are still people who think that's too many and that it should be reduced back to 99.