Saturday 24 March 2018

Senators reignite row over GAA tickets

Senator Paddy Burke
Senator Paddy Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

All-Ireland tickets were back on the Seanad agenda yesterday, amid claims that senators are seen as "second-class citizens" in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

One of Taoiseach Enda Kenny's chief supporters, Paddy Burke, said the GAA's decision to give TDs All-Ireland tickets but not senators, "showed clearly how the Seanad is viewed by certain organisations".

Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden
Fine Gael TD Gabrielle McFadden

And Fine Gael Senator Gabrielle McFadden complained that senators were not afforded the "luxury" of being able to invite visitors to Leinster House to observe Tuesday's Budget - unlike TDs.

"The Budget is for everyone, not just for Deputies. The allocation of visitor tickets was unfair and not right," she said.

Read more: First All-Ireland Budget Day passes - Senators claim to be seen as 'second class citizens' 

Mr Burke said his Mayo colleague Michelle Mulherin, who sparked controversy after accusing Croke Park of discrimination against Senators for not giving her tickets to the All Ireland Football final, would not thank him for raising the issue again.

Dáil deputies are provided with tickets for big games by the GAA if their county is playing.

"In advance of the biggest day in the Gaelic football calendar, the GAA drew a clear line between the Dáil and the Seanad," he said. "This incident affords us an opportunity to take stock of how we are viewed.

He added that the chairman of the Seanad was also discriminated against because he was not invited to be seated in the Ard Comhairle on All Ireland day, along with all the Ministers, Ministers of State, Garda and Army officials.

Irish Independent

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