Tuesday 21 November 2017

Darren Lehane: Abolition is the Government disguising its failure to reform

The ballot paper options will be to get rid of the Seanad or maintain the status quo, which makes it a false choice

Darren Lehane

Four years ago at a social function, Enda Kenny announced his intention to abolish the Seanad if he became Taoiseach. This announcement was a surprise because only seven months earlier in its 'New Era' document, Fine Gael committed itself to the retention of a reformed Seanad as part of a series of detailed proposals aimed at reforming the Oireachtas.

Last week, the Taoiseach delivered on his promise and announced that in October the Irish people would be asked to abolish Seanad Eireann.

It is ironic that this will be the second time in 35 years that the people will be asked to vote on the future of the Seanad in circumstances where successive governments, including this one, have refused to legislate to give effect to the vote in the 1979 referendum to extend the franchise in elections to Seanad Eireann.

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