Senators complain referendum campaign has been ‘dirty’

Cross-party calls for a No vote during this morning’s order of business in Seanad

Senator Martin Conway (FG) said the campaign in the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad was “a significantly dirty campaign, probably the dirtiest campaign we have seen in a referendum in the history of the country”.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Senator Martin Conway (FG) said the campaign in the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad was “a significantly dirty campaign, probably the dirtiest campaign we have seen in a referendum in the history of the country”. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, Oct 3, 2013, 13:06

Two coalition party Senators have described the Seanad referendum campaign as “dirty’’ on the House’s last sitting day before tomorrow’s poll.

Martin Conway (FG) said it was “a significantly dirty campaign, probably the dirtiest campaign we have seen in a referendum in the history of the country”.

Mary Moran (Lab) said it had been an extremely dirty campaign, with false statements and misinformed posters which, in her view, should have been removed.

“In my two and a half years in the House, I have witnessed excellent debates with fantastic contributions by many expert people in their field,’’ she added. “And I think that stands to the strength to this House…that we are doing what we were elected, or in my case appointed, to do.’’

There were cross-party calls for a No vote during this morning’s order of business.

Four Labour Senators - John Kelly, John Whelan, Denis Landy and Jimmy Harte - who were absent from the House when the Government was defeated in a vote last night, were not present. The Government lost a vote on a Private Member’s Blll moved by Independent Senator Feargal Quinn to ban upward only rent reviews.

Today’s Seanad business includes tributes to late poet Seamus Heaney.

Labour chief whip Emmet Stagg is to contact the Senators today and seek an explanation for their absence.