McDowell to rescue of besieged Seanad

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

SPEAKING OF the future of the Seanad, we saw Michael McDowell at the launch of Mary O’Rourke’s autobiography on Thursday evening. McDowell is a leading light in the campaign for the retention of the Upper House – otherwise known as Pimp My Seanad.

The plan is to convince the public that a reformed and restructured second chamber is a vital component of our democratic system.

McDowell says he is very confident the Seanad will be retained. “It’s the Dáil that’s dysfunctional.” But what about the PDs’ Constitution for a New Republic, which he co-authored back in 1988? Didn’t it advocate ditching the Upper House? Well, you see, that was nothing to do with Michael McDowell. As he explained to us on Thursday, the Seanad policy was entirely Des O’Malley’s idea.

In fairness, Dessie was still calling for abolition at this year’s MacGill Summer School. As for McDowell, he doesn’t agree and says he said as much to his party founder in 1988.

Still, some old hands around Leinster House have been snorting about his Pauline conversion on the issue. But McDowell insists there has been no U-turn on his part: he may want a radically reformed Upper House but he has never favoured its abolition.