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Thursday 18 January 2018

Enda's personal crusade to abolish Seanad faces internal revolt

DANIEL McCONNELL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s “personal crusade” to abolish the Seanad faces a major revolt from within the coalition, as a majority of Government TDs are against doing away with the upper house.

Senior figures in Fine Gael today rejected speculation that the Government would consider reforming the Seanad, should the referendum be defeated.

Speaking at the Constitutional Convention, in Malahide, Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children, said there was no question of reforming the Seanad and that the Autumnal referendum would be an opportunity for the public to consider whether they wanted to see one really effective house operating strongly with checks and balances.

Ms Fitzgerald said a reformed Dáil would see a strengthening of the committee system and described the amendment being put to the people as a “serious proposition”.

Adding his voice to reject sugesstions of reforming the Seanad, Party chairman, Charlie Flanagan, said there was no contemplation of a 'Plan B.'  He said voters would be given a clear choice between abolition or retention of the Seanad.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said it was a huge irony that the Constitutional Convention which is meeting in Malahide this weekend was not discussing the future of the Seanad because it was not allowed to do so. Mr Adams said this was a “huge mistake”.

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