first_imgSINN FÉIN has called for a Yes vote in the Seanad referendum as polls show people are worried about handing over all political power to fewer people in the Dail.But local TD Pearse Doherty thinks it should still be abolished.“The timing of this referendum in the weeks before the budget will certainly seem like a diversionary tactic by a government which wants to take the focus off of its cuts agenda that is causing so much hardship for so many families,” he said. “For most people the Seanad is irrelevant. They have never had a vote in a Seanad election, nor has the Seanad had any impact on their daily lives and struggles. With an in-built government majority, because of the number of Taoiseach’s nominees, it rubber stamps government decisions.“In the last two-and-a-half years, the Seanad has supported the government on every single occasion, including the introduction of the Property Tax, cuts to Disability Payments and the Promissory Note deal which is costing the tax payer €30 billion.“In recent years the only time most people will have heard anything about the Seanad was when former Fianna Fáil Senator Ivor Callely was investigated for abusing the expenses regime.“But the referendum on the Seanad is important. It does matter. It matters because the Seanad represents a blatant inequality at the heart of our political system. It matters because the cronyism and the elitism that are synonymous with the Seanad have fostered the type of politics that has brought this state to its knees. The failure to reform the Seanad by consecutive governments including Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour echo the failure to reform politics as a whole. There has been plenty of time but no action. “Many people – including Michael McDowell and Michael Martin who were part of government during the Ahern years and to whom the Seanad represents a potential political lifeline – now claim to be committed to reforming the Seanad. You should judge these assertions by their actions over recent decades. When they had the opportunity to reform it they did nothing.“The Seanad has promoted political cronies and allies rather than ideas or visions. And Fianna Fáil is the party which has done the most to reinforce the perception of the Seanad as a hot house of cronyism.”Deputy Doherty went on: “The system of Taoiseach’s nominees in particular during the Bertie Ahern era was used to promote close political allies and cronies rather than doing anything to bring more diversity into the political system.“It was not used to increase the number of women in the Oireachtas or to ensure minorities were represented. In the main it has been a safety net for those who failed to get elected to the Dáil.“It may seem unbelievable but people have been nominated to the Seanad merely to secure parking and access to the Dáil bar for life! Examples of these so-called weekend Senators include current Fianna Fáil General Secretary Sean Dorgan. “The most damning feature of the Seanad is the elitism, inequality and discrimination that is at its core. There can be no place in a real republic, based on equality, for an elected office to which only a tiny percentage of the population have the right to vote.“By restricting votes to an elite of those educated in a number of select colleges (including Trinity College Dublin, UCD, UCC and UCG) as well as City and County Councillors, the Seanad is anomaly in a modern democracy. It runs in the face of the core principal that all citizens are equal. It is obviously wrong to most people that a house of parliament would discriminate against citizens based on where they were educated.“We know that many people will see this referendum as an opportunity to vote against the government. This is understandable given the broken promises and failures, and the hardship caused by cuts to local services and increased taxes and charges. But I would ask people to look at the issue before you on its merits. There is no defence that can be made of the Seanad in its current form. It needs to be abolished.“Sinn Féin seeks to build a New Republic on this island based on equality for all citizens. We want to see an end to privilege and elitism, and to the cronyism and influence of vested interests that have so damaged politics in this country. Fairness, democracy and equality of citizenship demand that the current Seanad be abolished. Vote Yes on October 4th.” SINN FÉIN CALLS FOR YES VOTE IN SEANAD REFERENDUM was last modified: August 23rd, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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