Seanad aboliton would be ‘triumph’ for parish pump politics

Green Party says No vote would force Government to bring real political reform

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has accused the government of arrogance in its approach to Seanad abolition. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has accused the government of arrogance in its approach to Seanad abolition. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 14:12

The abolition of Seanad Eireann would represent “the final triumph for parish pump politics” in Ireland, the Green Party has said.

The party today formally began its campaign for a No vote in the October 4th referendum and described the Government as “arrogant” for only offering two options to voters - abolition or no change to the upper house.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said a No vote would represent a vote for political reform in the State as he did not believe the Government would be able to resist the will of the people to see a changed political system.

Mr Ryan said a reformed Seanad could scrutinise European legislation, preview domestic legislation and also bring different voices and views on politics to a national level if the system of election to the upper house was changed.

“We should hold on to the case for real political reform,” he said. “The Government is not providing it. They’re not even countenancing it and I think the Irish people want radical political reform, not just abolition but real change.”

Green Party chairman Roderic O’Gorman said the Irish public had a tendency to elect “fixers” to the Dáil who spent a considerable amount of time focusing on local issues.

“The link between the voter and local TD is important but if there is a Yes vote to Seanad abolition it will forever end the possibility of people entering politics and the Oireachtas with a sole mandate to contribute on national issues,” he said.

“A Yes vote will represent the final triumph of parish pump politics in this country and that would be disastrous.”