The future of the Seanad
Sir, – Chief among the reasons given by Enda Kenny for the abolition of the Setnad was that it “did nothing to challenge the unattainable policies of the Celtic tiger” (Front page, June 6th). Surely Mr Kenny realises just how absurd, not to mention dangerous, this line of argument is?
Did the Dáil cry halt to the policies of the Ahern era? Did the President of the day do anything to stop them? And in the courts, did our learned judges attempt to intervene? The answer is a clear No in each case.
So what is to stop some future government, during some future economic or political crisis, from pointing the finger of blame at these remaining institutions of State and demanding their abolition in order to grab a quick headline and to get a boost in the polls?
The only constitutional office or institution which did challenge the policies which brought us to ruin was that of the Comptroller and Auditor General. If we were to follow Mr Kenny’s position to its absurd conclusion, then perhaps we ought to establish a dictatorship led by this office?
Those truly to blame for the policies of the Celtic tiger are the politicians who implemented them, and the people who continued to vote them back into office. And yet Mr Kenny’s insists that it was the institutions of democracy themselves which are to blame for the crisis, and not the incompetent and self-serving people who abused those institutions for their own political gain.
Such a stance is the very anathema of democracy, not its salvation as Mr Kenny seems to believe. – Yours, etc,
THOMAS RYAN BL,
Mount Tallant Avenue,
Sir, – I find it farcical when members of the Seanad, elected through a “rotten borough” electoral system or appointed, unelected, by An Taoiseach, present themselves as an essential political bulwark protecting us from the excesses of our democratically elected Dáil.
The most appropriate message for members of the “best club in Dublin” is Oliver Cromwell’s 1653 injunction to the Rump Parliament: “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately. . . Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Is it just possible that Labour’s change of tack on the future of the Seanad has more to do with the future job prospects for that party’s deputies and less a concern for the well-being of democracy? – Yours, etc,