Enda Kenny has promised to scrap 20 Dail seats and the Seanad if elected. Do we believe him? I don’t mean that he’s lying, in that I feel that Enda is a man of integrity, but do we believe that Taoiseach Kenny could get the Seanad to vote through a bill to abolish itself, or get his TDs to vote through a boundary commission that reduces the Dail by 20 seats? Yet again, like his previous “bolt from the blue” policy of announcing a paycut at a press conference in front of gobsmacked colleagues, this must surely raise the question of his judgement and indeed the judgement of the parliamentary party that insists on keeping him as leader. What will he announce off the cuff as Taoiseach? Membership of NATO? Ireland’s committment to putting a man on Mars? War with the Isle of Mann? This is assuming, by the way, that he can get through an election campaign where FF will surely identify him as the weakest link in the alternative government. Once again, by his own hand, the Enda Factor is alive, and if the FG parliamentary party can’t deal with this single glaring issue how can they be expected to run the country?
The reality is that the Seanad in its current form is not worth keeping. Should it be reformed? If it were to be a means of bringing people into politics who normally could not get elected to the “local fixer” lower house, then maybe a reduced Seanad would be worth keeping, provided it accepts the principle that every citizen should have a vote in its composition. As for reducing the Dail size, that makes sense from the simple proposition that reducing the Dail by 20, or even more seats, would not actually reduce the Dail’s value for money.
The proposal will lead to one of two things: Either Taoiseach Kenny will face down his own party establishment, and show himself to be capable of pushing through genuine reform, or this issue will be the issue that shows that he is not actually running the country. Assuming this sort of stuff doesn’t stop him being Taoiseach in the first place.