Seanad abolition would leave ‘weak’ political system - Martin

Fianna Fáil leader says Government has no interest in political reform

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said Seanad abolition would leave the State with a uniquely weak political system. Photograph: Alan Betson.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said Seanad abolition would leave the State with a uniquely weak political system. Photograph: Alan Betson.

 

The forthcoming referendum on the abolition of the Seanad is a “defining moment” for the political future of this country, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.

Speaking at the annual Liam Lynch commemoration at Kilcrumper cemetery in Fermoy, Co Cork, Mr Martin that if the Seanad is abolished, Ireland will be left with a political system which is “uniquely weak in the democratic world.”

“No other country will have our combination of a dominant government, weak single-chamber parliament and local government with few powers.”

Mr Martin said there is not a single person who wants to retain the Seanad as it is currently constituted. However, he claimed that “only by voting to retain it can we demand reform.”

He also cited as “dishonest” claims by the Government that a Yes vote would free up millions for hard-pressed services.

Mr Martin insisted the Government has no interest in reform.

“Our political system is broken. Central to this is that we do not have a parliament which is expert enough or independent enough. It cannot make sure that our laws and our institutions operate on the basis of good policy and good administration”

He stressed the Government has taken repeated steps to concentrate more and more power into the hands of a tiny cabal of ministers.

“ If the Seanad referendum is passed it will mark the end of any chance of there being any real political reform. The Government will hang up the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners, ramp up the self-congratulatory speeches and confine political reform to the dustbin of history.”

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