Seanad seagull debate shows why electorate got it so wrong in allowing this costly irrelevance to continue
Published 27/06/2016 | 08:15
Three years after voting to keep the Seanad, we are still waiting for the overhaul its defenders said was needed to turn it into a "vibrant and committed" chamber.
While the taxpayer continues to fund the Seanad to the tune of €10m-a-year, it continues to show why the electorate got it so wrong in allowing this costly irrelevance to continue.
Last week, most of Europe was concerned with the fallout from the Brexit vote. In Ireland there was hardly a workplace in which its repercussions were not being discussed.
The lower house of the Oireachtas, however, obviously has far weightier topics to grapple with ...
During a debate, Fine Gael senator Paul Coughlan rose solemnly from his seat and, with immense gravitas, raised an issue that had obviously been troubling him immensely. Seagulls.
"The gulls seem to have a voracious appetite and can wreak havoc with their beaks," he said.
"I want advice for business owners who are putting out bundles of plastic bags. The birds are destroying the bags with their beaks."
It's the second time in recent years that the Seanad has debated this weighty topic. Ned O'Sullivan previously hit the headlines when he raged against this pestilence.
"Something needs to be done to address the seagull problem here in this city. They really are vermin," he said in the summer of 2014.
There was only one thing more disturbing than the fact that this clip revealed the Seanad to be composed almost entirely of fat, middle-aged men, many of who seem to have got their positions either through cronyism or as a political consolation prize.
What was truly shocking was that they considered Coughlan's speech to be worth of their undivided attention.