Delegates in upbeat mood at FG conference

Seanad referendum defeat dismissed as minor setback

Enda Kenny:   Moya Prunty (Kildare South) said referendums had been lost before and the world had not ended. She said the Taoiseach was doing a fine job. Photograph: Alan Betson

Enda Kenny: Moya Prunty (Kildare South) said referendums had been lost before and the world had not ended. She said the Taoiseach was doing a fine job. Photograph: Alan Betson

 


Delegates to the Fine Gael conference were in an upbeat mood and largely happy with the performance of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the party’s Ministers.

They said the defeat in the Seanad referendum was a minor setback and expressed the view that the budget would reflect a measure of economic progress.

Bill Martin from Ballingarry, Co Tipperary, was manning a stand dedicated to Michael Collins, “a towering figure written out of history’’. He felt there was little significance in the referendum result, although the Seanad does need reform. “Right now, it is all about what people have in their pockets,’’ he said. “It is about jobs, getting up in the morning and having work to go to.’’

‘Unfair criticism’

Moya Prunty (Kildare South) said referendums had been lost before and the world had not ended. She said the Taoiseach was doing a fine job.

“He was subject to a lot of unfair criticism before he became Taoiseach,’’ she added. “I always knew he was a different person to the one portrayed in Opposition.’’

Party chairwoman in Carlow-Kilkenny Katherine Hogan said the Seanad’s future had not been a big issue with people. “I canvassed for Fine Gael and the lack of interest was obvious,’’ she added.

Ms Hogan, a nurse, said the economy was dominating people’s lives, adding “there are many people out there who cannot afford their supper’’.

Kathleen Woulfe (Cork East) said Fine Gael was performing as well as it could in Government. “The referendum was a disappointment for Enda Kenny, but it was not serious. There was huge confusion; some people thought they were voting No to abolish the Seanad.’’