Wednesday 28 June 2017

Seanad candidates want radical reform

Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

Two candidates seeking election to the Seanad are putting political reform at the top of their agenda.

Tony Williams, a solicitor, nominated and strongly endorsed by newly elected independent TD Shane Ross, and seconded by economist David McWilliams, is running in the University of Dublin panel.

Cancer specialist, health reformer and Sunday Independent columnist John Crown, meanwhile, is running in the National University of Ireland panel.

Mr Williams says his election would strengthen the movement for a new force in Irish politics. He was a key figure behind Shane Ross's election campaign.

Professor Crown believes the current Seanad structure is an affront to democracy and believes that the body needs to be either reformed or abolished.

Yesterday, it emerged that a number of longstanding Fianna Fail senators have defied the wishes of leader Micheal Martin by declaring their candidacy in the forthcoming election. Mr Martin wanted older senators to step aside as part of his bid to re-energise the party.

He believes this would give younger FF members with the potential to go on and win Dail seats a chance to establish themselves.

As nominations closed on Friday, 14 of the 25 outgoing Fianna Fail senators were among the 80 candidates proposed by approved bodies for the five vocational panels in the Seanad election.

They included Donie Cassidy, Jim Walsh, Mary White, Ann Ormonde, Terry Leyden and John Hanafin.

Former junior ministers Martin Mansergh and Sean Connick have also been nominated, as well as Kenneth O'Flynn, a son of former Cork North Central TD Noel O'Flynn.

Mary Hanafin, who lost her seat in Dun Laoghaire, said she could not contest a Seanad election in which her brother was also standing. She will no longer be deputy leader of the Fianna Fail party.

Sunday Independent

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