Fine Gael Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Monday) welcomed clarification from the Chair of the independent Referendum Commission, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, that there will be no option for reform on the ballot paper, when voters are asked whether they want to abolish the Seanad on October 4th.
“Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne made it very clear on RTE’s Morning Ireland programme this morning, that reform is not an option when it comes to the Seanad Referendum. As Justice Dunne said, ‘the question that will be put before the people is; do you wish to abolish the Seanad, or do you wish to retain the Seanad. That’s it’. And, crucially, she added ‘there is no question on the ballot paper about reform’.
“Justice Dunne rightly described the proposal being put to the people on the Seanad as ‘very straightforward’. Her comments yet again make it abundantly clear that Fianna Fáil and Michael McDowell are misleading the public with their fictional talk of reform.
“Fianna Fáil has no credibility when it talks about reforming the Seanad. The Party did nothing to reform the Seanad during all of its years in Government. Ten reports have been published on Seanad reform; eight of them under Fianna Fáil Governments. Fianna Fáil was in favour of abolition during the 2011 General Election, and yet now it expects the public to erase the past and believe the Party this time around.
“I am glad that Justice Dunne has clarified the issue. The choice is simple; do you want to abolish the Seanad, yes or no? By voting Yes you can help to save €20 million a year, reduce the number of politicians by a third, and bring Ireland into line with other European countries of our size, all of which have just one chamber of parliament.”