Speaking while campaigning in Kilkenny, Labour Minister Alex White said: “Micheal Martin’s commentary on the Seanad referendum today is very misleading in that it suggests that by rejecting the abolition of the Seanad, people will somehow be precipitating a process of major reform of the upper house.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, and Micheal Martin knows this well. In fact, the Seanad is an obstacle to real reform. Keeping it would simply maintain the status quo and would relegate, rather than bring forward, much-needed reform in our parliamentary system.

“Deputy Martin’s article is notable in that while it calls for reform, he has failed to put forward any proposals that are realistic or workable. Were his party genuinely serious about reform, surely they would have done something about it in their 14 years in office between 1997 and 2011.”