Friday, September 06, 2013

Referendum Commission comments make it clear that the Greens’ fictional reform option isn’t on the ballot paper

Fine Gael Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Thursday) said that voters should not be fooled by the Green Party’s fictional talk of reform. Deputy Doherty added that comments from the Chair of the Referendum Commission, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, have made it abundantly clear that the question voters will be asked on October 4th is a very simple one; do you want to abolish the Seanad - Yes or No?

“The Green Party has joined Fianna Fáil and Michael McDowell in a bid to save the Seanad, an institution which is costing us €20 million a year. They all have something important in common; when the Greens, Michael McDowell and Fianna Fáil were in Government, they did absolutely nothing to change the Seanad.

“Like many others, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, cannot explain why the Seanad is worth saving. Instead he is talking about a fictional reform plan. But speaking earlier, the Chair of the independent Referendum Commission made it clear that there is no option for reform, and that choice facing the public is a straightforward one; do you want to abolish or retain the Seanad?

“The Green Party had its chance to reform the Seanad when it was in Government, and just like its predecessors, it chose to do nothing about it. Ten reports have been published on reforming the Seanad, and nothing has changed. It is now time to ask ourselves whether we need a second chamber that doesn’t do anything that isn’t already done in the Dáil, and costs €20 million a year to run.

“During the Green Party’s term in Government with Fianna Fáil, the Party’s then leader John Gormley championed a Seanad reform group in 2009. But they didn’t even manage to come up with a set of proposals. That says a lot about how seriously the Greens took the Seanad while they were in Government.

“The Greens should stop trying to confuse voters about what they are being asked in the Referendum on October 4th. It is a simple question; do you want to abolish the Seanad? Yes or No? If you agree that we could better spend elsewhere the €20 million a year it costs to run a chamber that is elected by 1% of the population and which hasn’t even delayed a piece of legislation since 1964, then I urge you to vote Yes.” 

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