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Sunday 19 November 2017

Enda Kenny pushes back vote on Seanad

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is kicking the vote on scrapping the Seanad to touch for at least a year.

The move comes as Mr Kenny continued to hide behind the new constitutional thinktank to avoid expressing his view of gay marriage -- another issue that would have to be decided by referendum.

Despite Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's strong endorsement of gay marriage, the Taoiseach says he can't express his own view as he is speaking for the Government.

Five years ago, Mr Kenny said clearly he wasn't in favour of same-sex marriage and he has never expressed support for gay marriage at any time.

Refusing to be drawn on his personal view on gay marriage, Mr Kenny stuck to merely stating it would be examined by the Constitutional Convention.

"I answer you now as Taoiseach here and I speak on behalf of the Government. And the Government has put in place a process here by which this is a matter that will be considered by the Constitutional Convention and that process will start next week when we set up the Constitutional Convention," he said.

Notably, Mr Kenny did not withdraw his comments from 2007, where he said: "I don't favour same-sex marriage."

Also yesterday, Mr Kenny firmly indicated the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad would not take place in the next 12 months.

Deadline

The Taoiseach promised in his State of the Nation address last December to hold a referendum to abolish the Seanad in 2012. This deadline has been pushed back gradually as a result of the EU referendum and the children's rights vote in the autumn.

But he indicated yesterday that the first half of next year is also ruled out because of Ireland hosting the EU presidency.

"I have not fixed a date for a referendum on the abolition of the Seanad," he said.

"We must have consideration for things like the fact that we have the EU presidency from January 1 until June 2013, but we will talk about these issues.

"The child protection referendum will be later in the autumn and a referendum on the Seanad will be at a later date," he added.

Government sources said the Seanad referendum wouldn't take place during the EU presidency.

Mr Kenny said the legislation to allow the Constitutional Convention be set up would come before the Dail and the Seanad next week.

Irish Independent

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