Enda the executioner hears senators’ last requests
Taoiseach moves Seanad Abolition Bill
Taoiseach Enda Kenny: “He escaped after an hour and a half, promising to return when he’s done with his duties in Europe. The Senators looked less than gratified.”
The Taoiseach arrived with two undertakers in tow.
Or civil servants, as they are more usually known.
There was talk that Fianna Fáil would stage a walkout during his Seanad execution speech, but in the end, the few who came to hear him stayed sullenly put.
Why the change of mind?
“Aah, we couldn’t be arsed” said one of their number, who registered his silent protest by sunning himself on the plinth.
The Taoiseach was given a frosty welcome when he arrived in the Upper House, presumably with the aid of Sat Nav. It was sulkily noted on all sides that this was only his second visit to the chamber since he took office.
On his way in, Enda encountered Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry beating a retreat. They blanked each other, which was a major disappointment. MacSharry didn’t crack as much of a smile at the sight of the man he recently called “a clown” and the Taoiseach resisted the urge to slap a custard pie in his face.
A uniformed garda materialised outside the chamber door. Labour Senators Marie Moloney and Mary Moran thought this hilarious.
”Did the authorities think we were going to attack him and beat him up?” Mary asked us, while Marie said the poor policeman wouldn’t have stood a chance had the Senators decided to go on the rampage.
From the outset, it seemed the Taoiseach’s strategy was to bore the Senators out of existence as he ground through his dull and technical address in a low monotone.
However, any hopes he had of his audience surrendering on the spot were dashed because most of them fell unconscious before he was half way through his turgid script.
It was probably somewhere between the potted history of Seanad Éireann and his exposition of “consequential amendments”.
After Enda outlined in bewildering detail why his Government is asking the people to decide whether to scupper the Second House, and the Senators told him why he is wrong.
Darragh O’Brien, Fianna Fáil’s Seanad leader, set the tone of dignified huff as he made the case for reform instead of abolition.
He pointed out what Senators have achieved and could achieve if only allowed. “Even in a system that is not perfect, they bring a high degree of scrutiny, professionalism and experience to the debates that take place here,” he remarked, “and if you were here a little more often you would understand that.”
There was much annoyance at Enda’s recent comment that Senators didn’t prevent the economic crisis.
John Crown said expecting them to save the day was “a little bit like Neville Chamberlain blaming the Mexicans for failing to stop the Germans from invading Poland”.
As for the savings to be made by doing away with the Upper House, the figures being bandied about were universally derided as nonsense.