Proposals to abolish Seanad a ’simple choice’, Bruton says

Voters can have fewer politician and save €20m or retain outmoded system, minister says

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton and Regina Doherty launching the Fine Gael’s campaign for a Yes vote on the abolition of the Seanad . Photograph: Collins Photos.

Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton and Regina Doherty launching the Fine Gael’s campaign for a Yes vote on the abolition of the Seanad . Photograph: Collins Photos.

 

The proposal to abolish the Seanad gives the Irish people a simple choice of reducing the number of politicians by 30 per cent and saving €20 million a year or retaining the current outmoded system, Minister for Public Enterprise Richard Bruton said today.

The Minister, who is director of elections for the Fine Gael referendum campaign, was launching the party’s poster campaign outside Leinster House.

He said that that politics must change in Ireland just like every family and business that has had to change in the course of this very difficult time.

“The proposal to abolish the Seanad is a simple choice. It will reduce the number of politicians at national level by 30 per cent. It will save €20 million and it will in addition make Ireland like every other small European country with a single chamber parliament that will effectively scrutinise legislation and hold government to account,” he said.

Mr Bruton said the Government was intent on delivering that reform and had already started the process of strengthening the Dail’s powers of scrutiny.

“We believe that it is the chamber elected by all of the citizens that must be at the heart of our democracy holding government to account, scrutinising legislation and that is the core of our proposal.

“So this is a simple choice. Do we abolish the Seanad or retain it and if by abolishing the Seanad we will reduce the number of politicians,” said Mr Bruton.

He added that there was no complacency in government about the outcome as referendums were always difficult. “We know that we have a strong case and one that resonates with people. People do not want Ireland to have more politicians than other countries.”

He said people should not be fooled about the No campaign’s motives to retain the Seanad.

“When they talk about reforming the Seanad they really mean keep things the same. They know that there has never been any reform of the Seanad in its 75 year existence despite ten different reports being published recommending changes to the Seanad,” he said.