Taoiseach should bring reform proposals to Seanad ‘within a month’, says Zappone

Leader of the House, Maurice Cummins, appeals for no recriminations on referendum outcome

Senator Katherine Zappone, who has called for the Taoiseach to address the Seanad within a month on his plans for reform. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Senator Katherine Zappone, who has called for the Taoiseach to address the Seanad within a month on his plans for reform. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 01:00


A call has been made for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to address the Seanad within a month on his plans for reform of the Dáil and Upper House.

Taoiseach’s nominee Senator Katherine Zappone made the call during a debate on the first day back after the referendum. Ms Zappone, who with Senator Feargal Quinn had introduced a Bill on Seanad reform, said the electorate was waiting, watching and wanted reform now.

She wanted to assure Mr Kenny that they wanted to work in a collaborative manner with the Government. Ms Zappone welcomed the “gracious way in which the Taoiseach accepted the people’s verdict”.

The Senator added that their Bill and that of Senator John Crown offered “a substantive starting point for credible means to effect a radical transformation of how Seanad Éireann is elected and how it functions”.


Retaliation
Opening the debate Seanad leader Maurice Cummins urged Senators not to engage in “too much retaliation or recrimination” about the campaign or those involved in it.

Labour Senator Aideen Hayden hoped there would be “no petulance in Government circles” because of the result.

Prof Crown said this was “not a time for victors to gloat or losers to recriminate. It is a time for all of us to knock our heads together to reform our Republic and the way it does its political business.”

Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane criticised the Taoiseach for failing to “engage, debate or sell his own argument”.

The debate on the referendum was followed later by a two-hour debate on reform.

Mark Daly (FF) suggested the John F Kennedy school of government at Harvard University should be called in to look at all aspects of the running of the Dáil and Seanad.