Friday, October 04, 2013

Vote NO in Referendum:


Today’s Referendum on abolition of Seanad Éireann (Irish Senate) the second house of the Oireachtas (Legislature) purports to be a “reform” but is merely a power-grab by the government with the largest majority ever in the history of the State and citizens should carefully consider whether they want this government to have untrammelled power without possibility of legislative scrutiny which, admittedly in limited fashion, was provided by Seanad Éireann since it was established in the 1937 Constitution.
The Government case is based on the narrowness of the electorate which elects the members and the cost, which they have stated is €20M but, this has been proven to be greatly exaggerated by political observers. Since the form of election is entirely a matter for the politicians it is they who are responsible for the failures to reform the system over 75 years not the Seanad itself, which has always been controlled by the parties in the other house, Dáil Éireann.
Their proposed abolition amendments to be voted on today have not been discussed in any detail in any public forum and the sneaky abolition of Article 27 of the Constitution which provides for a petition to the President to proclaim a referendum on any Dáil bill which a proportion of members consider should be referred to the people has not been debated except on last night’s Vincent Browne debate on TV3. No mention ever given on national broadcaster RTÉ.
The Government has not proposed any alternative legislative proposals other than vague promises to give additional powers to parliamentary committees which will still have the party whip applied and the majority of chairpersons still nominated by the Government. So much for “reform” which has been the main slogan of the government supporters in this referendum. With their overwhelming majority in Dáil Éireann they can easily ignore the Opposition and carry on as usual but, without even the feeble voices in the Seanad to question their authority. In effect, they are asking for a blank cheque from the people in this political scam.
No government should be given blank cheques! Let them put their money where their mouth is and produce genuine reform legislative proposals which can be seen and debated in public. Therefore, vote NO in today’s referendum.


No comments: