Wednesday 13 December 2017

Senator offered trip to skip vote

GOBSMACKED: Denis Landy
GOBSMACKED: Denis Landy
John Drennan

John Drennan

LABOUR Party senator Denis Landy sensationally claims that he was last week offered a plush foreign holiday to coincide with a series of votes on the referendum to abolish the Seanad in what he believes was an attempt to defeat the Government.

LABOUR Party senator Denis Landy sensationally claims that he was last week offered a plush foreign holiday to coincide with a series of votes on the referendum to abolish the Seanad in what he believes was an attempt to defeat the Government.

A stunned Mr Landy, who has been critical of the Seanad abolition plan, said: "I was approached by an individual in Leinster House and offered flights and a stay in a top hotel in New York should I go missing during this week."

He refused to name the shadowy political figure who is said to have made the offer, but he said it was made clear to him that "the offer was made in seriousness rather than jest''.

Mr Landy said: "I was shocked. I was taken completely unawares – you don't expect in this day and age to be offered three nights and flights to New York in order to miss a vote."

A Government spokesman last night said he was not aware of any such offer being made to Mr Landy.

The senator's status as a strong advocate for and close associate of county councillors may have led the mysterious benefactor to expect that he could be open to such an offer.

But Mr Landy said: "They didn't know who they were dealing with as well as they thought they did. I was gobsmacked."

He said he responded to the offer by saying: "That's a lovely thought, but would you have a job for me when I came home?'' – a reference to the likelihood that he would have lost the Labour whip had he gone missing for last week's series of votes.

His "astonishment and concern" are shared by his Labour Seanad colleagues.

One told the Sunday Independent: "We discussed it afterwards, and it was almost like something from the Eighties and the Haughey era."

Meanwhile, in a further indication of escalating tension in relation to the proposed abolition of the Seanad, the Sunday Independent has learned that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been privately warned by FG senators that "abolition will bring down the Government in six months''.

One source said: "Enda has been told, we'll bring down the Government, we'll start beating bills – sure, what power will the whip have over us when the place is abolished?"

The Taoiseach has also been warned that "abolishing the Seanad would create the sort of political void that led to the formation of the PDs".

Irish Independent

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