O'Toole accepts need for Seanad reform


SEANAD REPORT:THE McCARTHY report was right in making the case that the Seanad needed to be reformed or abolished, Joe O’Toole (Ind) said. It was no longer acceptable in a democracy that all citizens of voting age did not have a say in the composition of the House.

In a somewhat lighter vein, Mr O’Toole said he noted with sadness the departure from the Independents’ benches of one of their illustrious members, Ivana Bacik who had moved into the Labour benches.

Alex White (Lab) noted with “great pleasure” that Ms Bacik had joined himself and his colleagues. “I am sure she will impress and prosper as much here as she did on the benches behind.

Ronan Mullen (Ind) said he wished his colleague well in transferring to the Labour benches. “She has clearly wrestled with her conscience. I am not sure if she has won or lost that wrestling match.”

Shane Ross (Ind) said that what Mr O’Toole had said about the need for reform was correct. “But I would go further. We should look at ourselves and say are we actually being insulted by the agendas that we are being presented with in this house. Are we actually talking ourselves into irrelevance when we could be a relevant house? “ The manner in which the business had been ordered for the resumption of their sittings meant that they would be debating the economy in a vacuum when nobody was going to listen to a word they had to say. This was a disgrace.

Feargal Quinn (Ind) said he wondered if An Post was involved in the commission of a criminal offence in relation to the distribution of literature advocating a No vote in the Lisbon referendum. He had received such a communication and, to the best of his knowledge, it had been sponsored by money from outside the State.