So it seems the abolition of Seanad Eireann is about as popular with Fianna Fail Senators as the same suggestion by Enda Kenny was with Fine Gael members of the upper house. They’ve had a year to get used to it, so many of the sceptics are unwillingly coming round to accepting party policy.
In the Irish Independent, Senator Jim Walsh of Fianna Fail was scathing of his own party’s senior murmurings:
“It’s a throwback to our auction politics system. I thought we had learned from the mistakes of the past in making decisions for perceived political party gain,” he said.
He admitted the public would probably vote in favour of abolishing the Seanad if there was a referendum. But it was being offered as a sacrificial lamb on behalf of the whole political system, he said.
Fianna Fail senator Diarmuid Wilson also said he was opposed to the abolition of the Seanad — although he expressly said that he would back the move if it became government policy. “There is a place for the Seanad if it is properly used”, he said.
As noted yesterday, Killeen’s statement was nothing more than kite flying. And I would say he’s had his answer. If there’s to be credible political reforms, it ought not to be found in reducing democratic representation, but enhancing it.
Pearse Doherty’s golden moment in the Dail did not come out of nowhere. He’s been speaking in the Seanad for three years before budget day.
In the meantime, another layer of democratic control in Ireland, local councils, face losing their powers over housing in a bid to save money.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty