Sinn Féin calls for Yes vote in Seanad referendum

Party says chamber is unaccountable and out of touch

Pearse Doherty said the Seanad was “elite and out of touch”.

Pearse Doherty said the Seanad was “elite and out of touch”.

 

Sinn Féin will call for a Yes vote in the referendum to abolish the Seanad on October 4th, saying it is “elite” and “out of touch”.

The party’s referendum campaign director Pearse Doherty also criticised the house for being undemocratic and unaccountable.

“The Seanad is elite and out of touch. It has 60 members, 43 of whom are elected by county and city councillors, TDs and Senators, six are elected by graduates of NUI colleges and Trinity College Dublin, and eleven are appointed by the Taoiseach,” he said in a statement.

“It is accountable to nobody. More than 99 percent of the population have no say in who gets elected to the Seanad.”

Mr Doherty added that the referendum should be held “in the context of an informed debate about root and branch political reform”.

Previously the party called for reform of the Seanad, not abolition. “A reformed Seanad could serve our democracy well and act as an important counter-balance to the political party-dominated Dáil,” said deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald last year.

“The Seanad should be an elected forum for civic society – particularly for those sectors not adequately represented in the Dáil and more marginalised sections of our community,” she added at the time.

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