Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Farewell the Senate?

Posted by Jason O on Jan 3, 2011 in Irish Politics |

Am I the only person who finds the whole Seanad abolition thing to be quite funny? Just imagine how much Inda is now hated by Senators, and indeed how much this thing is now hurtling down a hill with the people who originally pushed it looking on aghast.

I have never believed that Seanad abolition was a strongly held belief by Inda. I think he mouthed it off to have something to say at an FG dinner, and it suddenly caught on. I always reckoned that when push came to shove he’d¬†instead put to the voters a piss-poor half-arsed reformed Seanad which they would reject (after FG ran a Mickey Mouse Yes campaign that is only supposed to look like a campaign, and FF ran a Vote No we-need-proper-seanad-reform-like-the-sort-we-never-did-in-14-years-in-government campaign) after which Inda would announce that the Irish People in their wisdom have chosen to retain the Seanad in its current form.

Yet Fianna Fail jumping on the bandwagon, that was new, and means that it might actually happen. I love FF’s chutzpah on this. They don’t believe in it either, but reckon “Feck it, we won’t give him the satisfaction”.

In the middle of all of it are senators who want to remain senators, and have suddenly found the ground vanish from underneath them. The sad thing is, abolishing the Senate and leaving us with the Dail we have now is probably a bad idea. Ironically, the Senate, with Norris and Ross and Bacik and a few others is the only place that non-geographical issues get a real hearing, almost entirely because of the university senators. Yet that is not enough of a reason to keep a whole house of parliament.

Watch now as senators prostrate themselves, choking back tears like a five year old being dragged out of Smyths’s emptyhanded, begging for someone to listen to their plans for reform. The same plans they spent a lifetime blocking. If the Senate had been reformed a few years ago, even by the (by today’s standards) modest reforms of the last reform report, we would not have this issue. But the smart alecks in the Senate stalled change, calling for “further debate” and “consensus”. Now they may be about to get a whole heap of consensus delivered by the Irish People. To the face. And it is very, very hard to have any sympathy for the great majority of them.¬†

2 Comments

James Lawless
Jan 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Two comments:

“FF ran a Vote No we-need-proper-seanad-reform-like-the-sort-we-never-did-in-14-years-in-government campaign” I find this one of those ‘if you didn’t laugh you’d cry moments.

And re your “loving the FF Chutzpah”, as an FF member I don’t love it, I hate it. We have had enough of populist nonsense from the opposition without the government resorting to it now as well.


 
Daniel Sullivan
Jan 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Senators remind me a lot of taxi drivers, always holding out against all types of minor reforms until the courts stepped in and burst the dam by saying that caps on the number of licenses was not allowed for.

There again to be somewhat fair to the senators it wasn’t necessarily in their gift to vote to reform themselves, it required the Dail to join in too. In my view, the Dail abolishing the Seanad as political reform is like an alcoholic destroying his neighbors drinks cabinet but keeping his own intact. Or it is to political reform what chopping off your left arm (for righties) is to dieting. On the surface it looks like you’ve achieved your goal but you really haven’t.


 

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