Abolish the Seanad says Brian Stanley TD

While we hear from those who want to retain the Seanad that it acts as a check on the policies coming from the Dáil, in reality the Seanad supported all of the Government policies that have led to the current economic crisis.

While we hear from those who want to retain the Seanad that it acts as a check on the policies coming from the Dáil, in reality the Seanad supported all of the Government policies that have led to the current economic crisis.

Seanad rubber stamped policies that led to crisis

Dear Editor,

While we hear from those who want to retain the Seanad that it acts as a check on the policies coming from the Dáil, in reality the Seanad supported all of the Government policies that have led to the current economic crisis.

The Seanad rubber stamped the policies that facilitated the property boom including tax breaks for developers and the deregulation of the sector.

The Seanad has also rubber stamped the last six austerity budgets which have caused untold hardships for families and communities across the state, so the argument that the Seanad acts as a check on policies coming from the Dáil doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The government has an inbuilt majority and over the past two-and-a-half years, the Seanad has supported the government on every single occasion, including the introduction of the Property Tax, cuts to Disability Payments and the Promissory Note deal which, it is estimated, could cost the tax payer over €60 billion by the time final payments are made.

The Seanad is undemocratic. Only a tiny percentage of the population has a say in who gets elected to the Seanad.

It is elitist. The right to vote in Seanad elections is based on educational achievement with only those citizens who have graduated from a select number of universities entitled to vote, in addition to city and county councillors.

The Seanad has been abused to reward political cronies – most notably by Fianna Fáil in the Bertie Ahern era when Micheál Martin sat at the cabinet table. In the majority of other cases a Seanad seat has been a consolation prize for those failing to secure Dáil seats.

What is needed is proper Dáil reform, as promised by FG and Labour, to make the Government more accountable. The Seanad has never performed this role and we should get rid of this undemocratic institution. I urge everyone to vote YES for its abolition next Friday.

Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin Laois Offaly