The Case for Retention of the Seanad Has Failed, Vote YES on Friday

On Friday people have an opportunity to improve our democracy, to reform our government and legislature, and to change the way our politics works.

For those three reasons it is vital that people use their ballot and get out in numbers and vote Yes for the abolition of the Seanad.

In doing so people will be voting for real reform. Not only by doing away with an outmoded second chamber that is no longer fit for purpose. But also by precipitating further reforms of the Dail to ensure that we have a more effective and better functioning parliament.

In the absence of a yes vote, the status quo will remain. We will still have a second chamber that is unrepresentative, undemocratic, and unnecessary. People must understand that a no vote will not lead to a reformed Seanad. Rather, it will mean that a chamber that has long outlived its sell-by-date will remain in place.

Throughout this campaign I have heard the arguments from the No side.

Largely they concentrate on the potential of the Seanad, rather than anything it has done to date.

I have seen various proposals for reform. But none of these offer a new purpose or vision for the Seanad that can’t be done in a properly functioning Dail.

I have listened to suggestions to change the way we elect people to the second chamber. But none of these address the elitism that is inherent in drawing exclusively from special interest groups.

The Seanad belongs to a different time and a different period in Irish history. It was established to ensure representation for a particular group – unionists – that would not otherwise have been heard.

That concern no longer exists, and there is no clearly identifiable ethnic, social, or other group that requires such representation.

The case for retention of the Seanad has failed. The people now have the opportunity to have their say, and I would urge as many as possible to come out and cast their vote in and support Friday’s referendum.