Tuesday 23 January 2018

LRC chief clashes with Creighton over Seanad abolition

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

LABOUR Relations Commission chief executive Kieran Mulvey has clashed with former Fine Gael junior minister Lucinda Creighton after she criticised him for fronting a pro-Seanad abolition group.

He is the chairman of the One House lobby group which is going to campaign for the Seanad to be abolished on the grounds that the country does not need two parliamentary chambers.

This sparked off a row with former Ms Creighton – who is opposed to the abolition of the Seanad.

"I find it extraordinary that the chairman of the LRC is involved in a campaign like this," she said.

Ms Creighton previously clashed with Mr Mulvey last year when he warned that changes to the Croke Park Agreement could lead to industrial unrest and potential industrial action.

After she criticised his remarks, he complained of "a junior minister making pronouncements on half-a-dozen issues".

CHEAP

During the news conference to launch One House in Dublin, Mr Mulvey was informed that Ms Creighton had been sending tweets, questioning how democracy could function when he did not want TDs commenting on national pay deals.

He said this was a "rather cheap shot".

"She seems to have a particular obsession with myself and my role. I don't know why that is. I never met the lady in my life," he said.

Ms Creighton told the Irish Independent afterwards that she did not have an obsession with Mr Mulvey.

Mr Mulvey, who played a crucial role in getting the Haddington Road Agreement over the line during talks at the LRC, also defended his decision to join the One House group.

"I've been in public life for 40 years. I feel strongly as a citizen regarding this matter. I'm very conscious of my role as chief executive of the LRC and my independence will not suffer by my involvement in this group," he said.

Mr Mulvey said the Seanad had failed to use its power to delay Dail legislation by 90 days – most notably in the case of the 2008 State banking guarantee.

He said he was a university graduate who deliberately had not voted in Seanad elections.

"I do not participate in this farce of a restrictive, elitist, undemocratic form of government," he said.

One House said it would be running its campaign on a budget of just €2,000 and would not be looking for donations.

Irish Independent

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