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FF’s poor Seanad voting record emphasises hypocrisy of No campaign – Doherty

23rd September 2013 - Regina Doherty

Fine Gael’s Deputy Director for Elections, Regina Doherty TD, has today (Monday) said that Fianna Fáil’s poor voting record in the Seanad, as revealed in the Irish Independent, emphasises the hypocrisy of the Party’s campaign to keep the second House.

“These figures show just how seriously Fianna Fáil Senators take their jobs. Fianna Fáil is the only Party campaigning to save the Seanad, and yet its Senators can’t even be bothered to turn up for one in every three votes in the second House. Voting is an essential part of the legislative process; so how can Fianna Fáil claim the Seanad plays an important role if its Senators aren’t even turning up to vote on key pieces of legislation? It’s worth noting that Fine Gael Senators have an excellent voting record.

“One Fianna Fáil Senator has a valid excuse for a poor voting record. Thomas Byrne missed a lot of votes during the Meath East bye-election, when he was spending all of his time trying to get out of the Seanad and get back into the Dáil. Does that not say it all?

“The hypocrisy of No side is exposed by these voting records. Fianna Fáil is the only Party to have changed its position on the Seanad since the General Election. But despite its claims that the Seanad is worth saving, Fianna Fáil Senators have missed a third of all votes. How can the Party expect the public to take it seriously on this issue? Fianna Fáil has already conceded that it did nothing to reform the Seanad when it had the chance. How can it now justify the fact that its own Senators aren’t even turning up for work in the chamber it wants to save?

“It’s very interesting that some of the Independent Senators who have been most vocal about saving the Seanad, have abysmal voting records. Senator John Crowne has missed half of all votes, while Senator Feargal Quinn’s voting record is only marginally better. If the Seanad is so important for our democracy, how can two of its most vocal defenders justify the fact that they don’t even participate in one out of every two votes in the second chamber?

“As these voting records clearly show, some of the most vocal defenders of the Seanad can’t even be bothered to turn up to do their job. Most of the Independent Senators with extremely poor voting records have second jobs. Should the taxpayer really be paying for them to only turn up to the Seanad when they can fit it into their busy schedules?

“The voting records of Senators, trying to save their skin, is a damning indictment of the No campaign. It further underlines the fact that the Seanad is elitist and completely undemocratic. Just 1% of the population elected these Senators, and therefore they have no-one to answer to if they chose not to do their job. It’s time we accepted that the Seanad is an elitist and outdated institution, by voting Yes to abolish it on October 4th.”  

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