Is a No vote an invitation for professional politicians to stab you in the back?
She voted NO in the Seanad referendum because she wanted a reformed Seanad. That’s what the No side said her vote meant. Earnest senators were on the telly and radio every night, describing in detail how the Zappone/Quinn reforms would transform the Seanad into a model upper house, and so she made her way to the polling station and did her duty. She was delighted when the government’s proposal was rejected.
Now, finally, we’ll see some serious reform!
But then funny things started to happen. Nearly all those enthused senators arguing passionately for reform seemed to go quiet, and Seanad reform just evaporated off the political table. Fine Gael and Labour people, who had quietly campaigned against abolition, suddenly started using phrases like “the people have spoken” and “the matter is settled”.
Some senators even started saying that the people were quite happy with the Seanad, sure hadn’t they voted to keep it as it was?
She was livid. She hadn’t voted to keep it as it was, a house for failed Dail candidates and political wannabes. She voted for the Zappone/Quinn reforms, that’s what they’d promised her!
In the general election, a tiny paragraph in the Fianna Fail manifesto didn’t pledge Zappone/Quinn, but yet another Oireachtas Committee to “review the issue”, as the last 12 previous reviews had, and look at maybe turning the Seanad into a replica mini Dail with 40 Super TDs in large constituencies. No mention of Zappone/Quinn anywhere.
Then there was another Seanad election, and she watched a bunch of young party hacks and failed old boys get another 5 years in the best gentleman’s club in town. All taxpayer funded, of course.
And there wasn’t a thing she could do about it, because when she had the power on polling day, she’d voted to give it back to those same senators.