Fianna Fáil is appealing to voters across County Kerry to vote No in the Seanad referendum on Friday.
The party’s Director of Elections Niall Collins TD joined Kerry Senator Mark Daly and other local representatives in Tralee this week to canvass for a NO vote on October 4th.
Speaking to voters in Tralee, Deputy Collins described proposal being put to the people on Friday as “a blatant power grab by a government with the largest majority in the history of the State”.
“If there is anything we have learned from the past, it’s the need for much greater scrutiny within the political system. Instead of radically improving the system of checks and balances, this government wants to remove it entirely so that all the control remains in the hands of Ministers,” said Deputy Collins.
He said the refusal to include an option on reform in Friday’s referendum shows just how arrogant and out of touch this government has become. “If the Seanad is abolished, it will be too late reform it. An already too powerful government will cement its absolute control over our parliament. It will be too late to introduce the kind of reform that ensures we have an upper house that holds Ministers to account and scrutinises legislation on behalf of the people,” said Deputy Collins.
Kerry-based Senator Mark Daly has said a No vote on Friday will send out a strong message that people want real political reform.“No one is trying to defend the Seanad in its current form. It doesn’t work as it should, and it needs to be fundamentally changed. A reformed Seanad could act as a brake on an arrogant government. It could ask the government to think again if necessary. It can become a force for ensuring accountable and effective politics. It can make a greater contribution to developing and overseeing public policy on behalf of the people,” said Senator Daly.
“There is also a hidden danger in Friday’s referendum. If there is a Yes vote on Friday, an important democratic protection in our Constitution will be scrapped. Article 27 gives the President power to refer a Bill to a referendum of the people if the President believes it’s a matter of national importance. I believe it’s crucial that our Constitution contains such a safeguard so that in the event of an emergency, an issue of national importance can be decided by the people.
“A No vote on Friday means a vote against abolishing this important protection in our Constitution. Voting No will tell the government that the choice they are offering in this referendum is not good enough. I am urging voters across Kerry to get out and have their say Friday. Vote No and demand real political reform,” said Senator Daly.