Fianna Fáil says Fitzgerald correct in Seanad claims
FF election director says FG Minister should have spoken out at the time
Niall Collins TD: “It is a pity Minister Fitzgerald didn’t have the respect for the voters to speak out at the time, but the voters saw through the spin and did the right thing.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Fianna Fáil is claiming comments by a Fine Gael Minister, that the campaign to abolish the Seanad was demeaning, proved that the idea to get rid of the Upper House was a “personal crusade” by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
It was responding to remarks from Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald in The Irish Times yesterday when in an interview she said there was “absolutely no need, ever” to “rubbish” the Seanad or the people in it, either past or present.
One of the controversial arguments put forward by Fine Gael were that abolishing the Upper House would save €20 million and reduce the number of politicians. Ms Fitzgerald conceded there was a “demeaning” of one of the institutions of State.
Darragh O’Brien, Fianna Fáil leader in the Seanad, said Ms Fitzgerald was correct, but it was “a pity she didn’t say so at the time”.
“Effectively this proves for us that the whole project was a personal crusade by Enda Kenny,” Mr O’Brien added.
Fianna Fáil was the only political party to oppose abolition. The party’s director of elections, Niall Collins, said it was time for Ms Fitzgerald and others “in Government who want to see reform to listen to the people and push for that reform”.
“The referendum also cost €20 million to run, which was a huge waste of taxpayer’s money on what was a personal whim,” he added.
“This confirms what we said all along – abolishing the Seanad was a personal crusade of the Taoiseach and even his own colleagues as high as Cabinet level didn’t agree with him. It is a pity Minister Fitzgerald didn’t have the respect for the voters to speak out at the time, but the voters saw through the spin and did the right thing.”