Friday 26 December 2014

Senators must fight for their abolition – Kenny

Published 19/07/2013 | 05:00

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is warning his party's senators they will be expected to campaign for the abolition of the Seanad.

The autumn referendum campaign has already sparked bitter exchanges within Fine Gael.

Some senators have criticised the party's own arguments, but Mr Kenny says the policy is clear.

"Yes, this is a party position, this is a government position, we have had this since before the election, people canvassed and campaigned on that and every senator would have known this was coming down the track and is now down the track."

Mr Kenny said senators would be expected to be visible on the campaign trail and he'd be watching their performance.

"I'll be around the country myself holding appropriate meetings and senators will be required to be in attendance and say their piece," he said.

Mr Kenny said the abolition of the Seanad was one of a number of political reforms being brought about by the Government, including:

* Reducing the number of TDs;

* Increasing the number of female candidates;

* Banning corporate donations;

* Abolition of town councils.

Mr Kenny said the handling of the abortion issue showed the way for adequate scrutiny of the legislation.

"Countries very similar to Ireland's operate very effective unicameral systems. So for me, someone who has been here a very long time, I really do believe if you have a system, whereby your committee system works really effectively, like it did in the case of the Protection of Life In Maternity Bill, you can see the way people get engaged, you can see the way they can call in experts or those with views, you can see the way that is teased out," he said.

Mr Kenny said Oireachtas committees would have a stronger role in the passing of legislation, calling in experts to discuss bills.

"In Finland, for instance, they even call in people who write letters to the papers occasionally and say, 'You made a point there. Do you want to come in before the committee here and give us your view?'"

He said the committee would have a new role in examining legislation after it had passed through the Dail to see if anything was missed.

Irish Independent

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