Tuesday 24 April 2018

Creighton's FG rebels urge No vote on Seanad abolition

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny's relationship with the Fine Gael rebels has further deteriorated after the dissident TDs called for a No vote in the Seanad referendum.

Despite having campaigned for the Seanad's abolition as Fine Gael candidates at the last general election, Lucinda Creighton's Reform Alliance is now calling for its retention.

After previous divisions within the group, Ms Creighton said she felt that it would "irresponsible" of them not to adopt a position. She said none of the group opposed the legislation to have the referendum.

The former European Affairs Minister said it was important the country did not lose the attributes of the Seanad.

However, the party's position for the past three years has been in favour of abolition. Fine Gael's general election manifesto committed the party to holding a referendum in which "people will be asked to approve the abolition of the Seanad".

"They all left the party on one issue, abortion, yet they campaigned on the Seanad abolition in the general elections. If they had any principles, they would now support the referendum," a party source said.

Ms Creighton indicated that the Reform Alliance would be supporting next month's Budget as the group supported the bailout programme.

"I think it is unlikely we will oppose the Budget," she said.

The Reform Alliance has tabled a Dail motion committing the Oireachtas to reform the Seanad if the referendum is defeated.

However, the motion is unlikely to be heard because Dail rules say that only political parties or the Technical Group can have private members motions debated.

Also yesterday, a group of three Independent TDs, Catherine Murphy, John Halligan and Thomas Pringle came out for a Yes vote.

"If this referendum is defeated it will be up to them to carry out the needed reform and we simply cannot rely on them to do it. For that reason I am reluctantly supporting a Yes vote in this campaign," Mr Pringle said.

Irish Independent

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