Friday 24 November 2017

Taoiseach heckled by protestors before public meeting on Seanad referendum

Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was met with heckles by a small group of protesters as he made his way to a public meeting on the Seanad referendum this evening in Dublin

Kenny was at the meeting which was organised by his Fine Gael colleague Mary Mitchell O'Connor at Fitzpatrick's Hotel in Killiney.

Earlier today, Enda Kenny stood over Fine Gael's claim that scrapping the Seanad will save €20m - and insists he is not pulling a "con job" on voters.

It comes after the Houses of the Oireachtas said it is not possible to say exactly how much abolishing the Upper House will save.

The Oireachtas told the Referendum Commission - an independent body which provides impartial information on referendums - the Seanad running costs have been estimated to be €20m per year but added it is not possible to say if all that will be saved if the chamber is abolished.

In the Dail this afternoon, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin accused Mr Kenny of using tactics similar to Youth Defence, the anti-abortion group, and Declan Ganley's Libertas group.

"You have engaged in tactics that would make Libertas and Youth Defence blush," Mr Martin said of the €20m claim.

But Mr Kenny insisted he isn't pulling a "political stunt" or a "power grab".

"I don't accept your assertion at all Deputy Martin that this is a con job," Mr Kenny said. "The €20m is a figure that is not created by any political party or any particular individual. It's a statement of the cost and the indirect costs and the pension requirements that are set out by the Oireachtas Commission. I accept their figures and stand by them."

Mr Kenny also criticised the conduct of some senators, saying: "Some of the activities in the Seanad have not done public representation any justice." 

Irish Independent

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