Creighton against abolishing Seanad

TD says entire political system needs reform

Lucinda Creighton said one house of parliament was not adequate. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/IRISH TIMES

Lucinda Creighton said one house of parliament was not adequate. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/IRISH TIMES

Wed, Jul 31, 2013, 10:32

Former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton has come out against abolition of the Seanad, saying wide ranging political reform would be a better option.

Ms Creighton, who lost the Fine Gael party whip after voting against the Abortion Bill, said one house of parliament would not be adequate.

“We need wide ranging reform throughout the political system from the executive, the government, right down to local and regional government and everything in between, including the Dáil and the Seanad; one on its own is not adequate,” she said on the Vincent Browne show on TV3.

She also said the country has too many TDs—166—and a constituency system that sees them competing against each other to “cultivate a voter base… it is quite ludicrous.”

Opposition to Seanad abolition is mounting ahead of the October 4th referendum. Yesterday Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said his party would seek retention of the House.

“The Government has too much control over everything already,” Mr Martin said in Glenties, Co Donegal. “What the Government is proposing by abolishing the Seanad is halving the amount of scrutiny in the system, inadequate as that scrutiny is.”

Former tánaiste Michael McDowell is also campaigning for a No vote, as is historian Diarmaid Ferriter who said the Government’s push to abolish the Seanad seemed to be a “greubby power-grab”.

Yesterday Fine Gael’s director of elections for the campaign Richard Bruton said getting rid of the Seanad would lead to savings of €20 million.

“Abolishing the Seanad will reduce the number of national politicians by 30%, bring us into line with best practice in other small countries in Europe and save tens of millions of euro which could be better spent on other public services.”