Seanad campaign makes some strange bedfellows
Miriam Lord, Dáil Sketch
Gerry Adams: feeling a little queasy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Some strange bedfellows are snuggling up under the political covers in Leinster House these days.
When they awoke in the Dáil chamber yesterday afternoon, they didn’t much like what they saw lying next to them.
Where the subject of Seanad abolition is concerned, they have made their beds and will have to lie in them until October.
Micheál Martin, meanwhile, seemed to think he had a comfy double all to himself. Then he turned over, only to find Peter Mathews sighing heavily beside him.
You could see that Micheál really wanted to gather up his things and go. But he couldn’t.
It was all a little awkward.
Our deepest apologies for planting these unsavoury images in your mind, but imagine how the aforementioned five – thrown together with people whose views they wouldn’t ordinarily tolerate – must feel.
Unshakeable in his view
The Taoiseach was unshakeable in his view that the people should vote Yes to abolish Seanad Éireann on October 4th. Yes! cried Enda.
Yes! Yes! cried the two in the bed beside him, but looking distinctly queasy.
No! said Michael, looking aghast at Peter, who was wearing a pained expression. Although he’s been looking that way ever since he was expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party over the abortion vote.
“I wish to place on record my view that this could be a very great and grave mistake” declared Deputy Mathews.
The discussion on the future of the Seanad, which went on for some time during Questions to the Taoiseach was notable for Enda’s willingness to engage on the issue.
Bone of contention
Up until now, he hasn’t exactly been putting himself about with vigour on the referendum question. This is a bone of contention for the Fianna Fáil leader, who has spent the last few weeks trying to entice Enda into the open so they can have a public debate.
For his part, the Taoiseach has maintained the line that they can get stuck into each other in the Dáil. Micheál Martin has countered, not unreasonably, with the argument that the restrictive house rules don’t allow time or latitude for a real discussion.
However, Enda appeared happy to go toe to toe with him yesterday, not in the least put out when Micheál attacked him on Fine Gael’s assertion that doing away with the Seanad will result in a € 20 million saving for the exchequer.