Thursday 14 December 2017

Michael McDowell: Scrapping Seanad is about a bid for total power, not saving money

The Government's claim that abolition will save €100m is a blatant lie

SAVING MONEY? Farmleigh, above, is still empty and is costing €2m a year, and yet the Government in its rush to 'save' money wants to abolish the Seanad, based on a spurious saving of €6.5m a year, a substantial portion of which goes back to the State anyway in the form of income tax, USC and levies
SAVING MONEY? Farmleigh, above, is still empty and is costing €2m a year, and yet the Government in its rush to 'save' money wants to abolish the Seanad, based on a spurious saving of €6.5m a year, a substantial portion of which goes back to the State anyway in the form of income tax, USC and levies

Michael McDowell

I wrote here last month about the uniquely dark power of the Government's whip hand in Irish politics. I did not exaggerate, as recent events have shown.

Alone in Europe the Irish Government can, and has now shown that it will, punish parliamentarians for voting with their conscience on a matter of profound moral belief by removing their speaking rights, their participation in committees and ending their membership of the parliamentary party.

What is more, in Ireland the leaders of the big parties can decide centrally to end the careers of those parliamentarians by deselecting them, regardless of the views of the local party.

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