Skip to main content

Democracy Matters miss the point entirely – Harris

20th September 2013 - Simon Harris TD

Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Simon Harris, has today (Friday) said that the posters launched by Democracy Matters miss the point entirely that the Seanad has no power to grab.

“Democracy Matters seems to miss the point entirely that one of the main reasons to abolish the Seanad is that it is almost powerless. The Seanad can’t overturn or reject legislation, it can only delay it for three months. And the last time it actually did so was 50 years ago. Yes, the last time the Seanad actually delayed a piece of legislation was in 1964. Which begs the question; how can you grab power from an institution which has none?

“It’s a little ironic that these Seanad retentionists call themselves ‘Democracy Matters’ when they are trying to save an utterly undemocratic institution, which is elected by just 1% of the electorate. What’s democratic about that?

“I am glad that Democracy Matters have admitted that there is no option for reform on the ballot paper. People will face a very simple question on October 4th; do you want to abolish the Seanad – yes or no? Ten reports have been published on Seanad reform, and none of them have been implemented. Nothing has changed in the last 75 years; we still have the same elitist second house.

“Michael McDowell and his colleagues in Democracy Matters are trying to dupe the public with their lofty talk of reform. But those on the No side cannot agree on what they mean by reform. And they seem intent on ignoring the fact that Seanad reform has failed for the last eight decades.

“We don’t need to spend another 75 years trying to find a role for a redundant second chamber of parliament. Instead, it’s time we acknowledged that a country of Ireland’s size doesn’t need two chambers of parliament, and an Upper House that is elected by just 1% of the population doesn’t do anything to enhance our democracy.”

Stay Up To Date With Fine Gael