Seanad abolition 'would weaken power of people to keep govt in check'
on 11/09/2013 10:07:43
The party has said that it is important Ireland's upper house be strengthened rather than made redundant.
A referendum on whether or not the Seanad should be abolished will take place in just under a month's time.
Jim O'Callaghan, deputy director of the party's 'vote no' campaign, says abolition is not the answer and our entire legislative system needs an overhaul.
"We have a very weak legislature, because in this country we have a situation where the Government puts forward bills and proposals to the Oireachtas, and it generally approves them on the nod," Cllr O'Callaghan said.
"That's particularly the case in the Dáil.
"What we need for real political reform is to strengthen the Oireachtas - to make the houses of the legislature stronger.
"And what this proposal seeks to do is to weaken it (and) to give more power to the Government."
However also commenting today on the upcoming referendum, Fine Gael TD Simon Harris said the functions of the Seanad are already redundant and his party will continue to push for a 'yes' vote.
"We are one of the only countries in Europe with a population of between 4 and 6 million that has a second chamber," Deputy Harris said.
"Many countries are functioning very well without one.
"We don't need one."
Deputy Harris said that less than 1% of the population of the country votes to elect the Seanad, and 90% of senators are elected by politicians.
"It's elitist," he said, describing the upper house as "a retirement home for failed politicians and a nursery for wannabe TDs".