independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Bruton insists that leaving Seanad in place is easy option

Minister Richard Bruton addresses the media at the launch of the first Fine Gael Seanad referendum poster on molesworth street in Dublin. Photo: El Keegan
Minister Richard Bruton addresses the media at the launch of the first Fine Gael Seanad referendum poster on molesworth street in Dublin. Photo: El Keegan

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has insisted that the “easy option” would be to leave the Seanad in place as a nursery and a retirement home for young and old politicians

It comes after the latest Sunday Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll showed that 39pc of voters want the Seanad abolished.

But 40pc are taking a different position – with 33pc wanting it reformed and 7pc wanting it retained.

Mr Bruton launched Fine Gael’s poster campaign for the Seanad abolition referendum – which sticks to the message that abolishing the Seanad will result in fewer politicians and save money.

“This country needs to make changes and politics has to show it is able to change. Of course the easy option would always be to leave the Seanad there because we know it has been a retirement home for politicians, it has been a nursery for politicians,” he said.

Mr Bruton is the director of Fine Gael’s Seanad abolition campaign, while Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty is deputy director. She insisted that shutting the Seanad was not a power grab because it had no powers of its own to lose.

“The Seanad 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,” she said.

Voters in the October 4 referendum will only be asked if they wish to retain or abolish the Seanad – the question of reform will not be on the ballot paper. But pro-Seanad campaigners are arguing that retaining the Seanad will force the Government to reform it.

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