Quinn votes against Seanad abolition

One of first postal votes cast

Ireland’s European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan- Quinn has revealed she has voted against abolishing the Seanad. Speaking in Galway today, Mrs Quinn said she had cast a postal vote on Monday, as she would not be in the State for the plebiscite.

The referendums on the proposed abolition of the Seanad and establishment of a new court of appeal take place on October 4th.

"I am very clear on this issue," the former Fianna Fáil minister said at the opening of an innovation centre at Medtronic in Galway's Parkmore. "I cut my teeth in politics going in in the Seanad with all kinds of consumer legislation when I was made Minister of State for Consumer Affairs way back in 1977.

"I learned an enormous amount about legislation, about how you present it, about what you need to have in the legislation, about how you make it watertight from people like Ken Whitaker, Alexis Fitzgerald, Willie Ryan and people like that who were old hands and who really helped me to learn in politics.

“So for me it’s an essential part of democracy and I very much hope that it will be retained,”she said.

Asked if the outcome of the vote on Seanad abolition would affect the position of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, she said she “wouldn’t imagine so”.

“I think each political party has had discussions, they have taken a view on how they should campaign and what they should campaign for in both referenda,”she said.

"You have referenda during the lifetime of governments and during the lifetime of oppositions, and I don't think that referenda really have a huge impact on what happens to leaders of parties or indeed to parties themselves."

Solid support
Mrs Quinn said that she was no longer in Fianna Fáil, and was "standing back", but that from watching the party's "think-in" at the weekend, Mr Martin "seems to have very solid support from all the party organisation throughout the country".

The deadline for registering to vote in the October 4th referendums closed yesterday. Registration for a postal or special vote closed on September 9th.

Deadlines for postal vote return vary from constituency to constituency, depending on the individual returning officers, according to the Department of the Environment.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times

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