On Seanad Abolition Proposals…

Yesterday, the Seanad met for the first time since Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny proposed the abolition of the Upper House. Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment, I only got to put forward my view at this morning’s Order of Business. Below is a transcript of my contribution:

Senator Alex White: I wish to comment briefly on the issues which exercised Members yesterday. I listened to the proceedings on the radio in my car and what I heard was quite bleak. It pains me to say it.

Senator David Norris: We missed the Senator.

Senator Alex White: Over and over again, Members were exploding with indignation. I include in that the Senator who has just—-

Senator Paschal Donohoe: Exploded.

Senator Alex White: Yes.

Senator David Norris: If that was an explosion—-

An Cathaoirleach: Members should cease interrupting. There should not be a repeat of what occurred yesterday.

Senator Alex White: There is a serious point to be made in respect of this matter. It was stated on the radio a few moments ago that in the eyes of many members of the public, the show was over for the Seanad.
It may seem I am adopting a holier-than-thou attitude. However, I accept that I am sometimes not behind the door in interrupting other Members.

Senator Terry Leyden: Why was the Senator not present yesterday?

Senator Alex White: Members of Parliament should have a better sense of what—-

Senator Terry Leyden: The Senator should have been here.

Senator Alex White: This is another example of that to which I am referring.

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Leyden should not interrupt. This type of behaviour marked yesterday’s proceedings.

Senator Alex White: People who have been Members of Parliament for 20 years or more do not appear to be able to act with a basic level of decorum.

Senator Paschal Donohoe: At least we were here.

Senator Frances Fitzgerald: Yes, we were.

A Senator: Please allow the Senator to finish.

Senator Alex White: During yesterday’s proceedings Senator Regan took the opportunity to misquote me. I never stated this House served no useful purpose. I am not a supporter or member of the Fine Gael Party. However, for Senator O’Toole to describe what seems to be a genuine proposal that we consider the concept of institutional reform - including as it relates to this House - as harking back to the 1930s is so absurd as to draw the level of debate so far down that said debate is almost not worth having.

More :: Read the full transcript of yesterday’s Order of Business by clicking here
More :: See RTE’s report on the proceedings