Saturday 1 October 2016

'We don’t need a second chamber' - What James Reilly said about the Seanad in 2013

Published 28/05/2016 | 11:03

Newly appointed Senator James Reilly
Newly appointed Senator James Reilly

NEWLY appointed Senator James Reilly previously labelled the Seanad as 'undemocratic' and said the country did not need a second chamber.

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The former Minister for Health made the comments on his Facebook page during the 2013 Seanad abolition referendum.

In a lengthy post at the time, Senator Reilly said: "The reality is the Seanad is very undemocratic; just 1% of the population elected the current Seanad, and only 3% of the population is entitled to vote in Seanad elections in the first place. 90% of Senators are elected by existing politicians."

He added: "Furthermore, the Seanad has very little power.

"It can only delay, not overturn, legislation, and the last time it actually did so was in 1964.

"This rubbishes any suggestion that abolishing the Seanad is a power grab; the Seanad has no power to grab. Most of the time, the Seanad rubberstamps legislation that has already been approved by the Dáil.

"We don’t need a second chamber that simply replicates the work of the Dáil."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny attempted to rehabilitate the political careers of six of his Fine Gael party colleagues who suffered defeat in the election, by making them senators yesterday.

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