Abolishing Seanad ‘would save €100m’ in five years

Bruton says upper house is luxury country can no longer afford

 

Abolishing the Seanad would save the country €100 million over a five-year Dáil term, Fine Gael’s director of elections for the Seanad referendum, Richard Bruton, has said.

Announcing the party’s parliamentary team for the campaign, Mr Bruton said the second house was a luxury the country could no longer afford.

“In all walks of Irish life, families and businesses are having to do more with less and I believe politics should show that it can do the same. That’s why it is timely now to give the people the chance to make that decision,” he said.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said his party would run an energetic campaign, with a strong focus on public meetings and digital media.

“Almost no other country of our size has two separate chambers of parliament. Progressive small countries like Denmark and Sweden have shown that they can have a better democracy at less cost with single chamber parliaments.

“This is the time to make that change in Ireland too, and put the money where it is most needed.”

Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has been appointed as Fine Gael’s deputy director of elections.

“At a time when families are making considerable sacrifices, I believe it is only right that the political system does the same,” Ms Doherty said.

“The Seanad is shockingly undemocratic; in fact just 1 per cent of the population voted to elect the current Seanad, and it doesn’t do anything that isn’t already done in the Dáil.”

High Court judge Miss Justice Elizabeth Dunne is to chair the new commission for the referendum.

The referendum is likely to be held in early October before Budget 2014.

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