FF Publishes Bill to reform Seanad – Daly
Kerry Senator Mark Daly says the Fianna Fáil Bill seeking to introduce immediate reforms to Seanad Éireann, which would give all citizens in Kerry a vote in Seanad elections should be accepted by the Government.
Senator Daly says the aim of the Seanad Reform Bill 2014 is to strengthen the powers of the upper house to act as a check on government and scrutinise national and EU legislation on behalf of the people. The Bill also ensures that minority groups not represented in Dáil Éireann have a voice.
“We cannot let the Government continue to ignore the very clear demands from the public for real changes in our political system. The people of Kerry voted to reject the Government’s proposal to abolish the Seanad. It was a vote for reform, not a vote for the retention of the status quo,” said Senator Daly.
“Contrary to its promises of a ‘democratic revolution’ this government has used its unprecedented majority to ruthlessly guillotine bills, abolish town councils in Kerry and seek to further centralise powers into fewer hands by abolishing the Seanad. The Government also cynically abolished elections to Údarás na Gaeltachta in favour of political appointments.
“The Taoiseach’s response to the people’s rejection of his personal crusade to scrap the Seanad has been both arrogant and dismissive.
“This Bill provides a legislative route to achieving proper reform of Seanad Éireann without further delay. It opens the Seanad up to every voter in Kerry; it gives voting rights to the Irish diaspora and eligible Northern Irish citizens; it earmarks seats for minority groups; it moves towards gender equality and it curbs spending on campaigns.
“With the political will, we can make all these changes within a matter of weeks. By voting for this Bill, we could immediately end the “political elitism” that the Government claimed to oppose during the referendum, by giving all citizens in Kerry a say in who represents them in the upper house.”