Fine Gael’s Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Minister Richard Bruton TD, today (Sunday) enlisted the help of John and Paul from the Beatles to kick off the final week of Fine Gael’s campaign for a Yes vote to abolish the Seanad. The Beatles had their first number one hit in the US in 1964 – which is also the year the Seanad last delayed a piece of legislation.
“We’ve been informing people about the Seanad throughout this campaign, and today we’ve enlisted the help of the Beatles to highlight the fact that the last time the Seanad used its limited power to delay a piece of legislation was in 1964, when the iconic band had their first US number one hit.
“Claims by the No side that abolishing the Seanad would amount to a power grab just don’t stand up. The Seanad has extremely limited powers; it can only delay legislation, rather than overturn it, and the last time it did so was 50 years ago. It is an elitist, unrepresentative and unnecessary second chamber of parliament that a country of our size does not need.
“We have found throughout the course of the campaign that people are shocked by just how little the Seanad can do. It has never acted as a check on the Government, because the Government always has a inbuilt majority. Most of the time, the Seanad just rubberstamps measures already approved by the Dáil. We don’t need a duplicate second chamber with few powers, which is costing the taxpayer €20 million a year to run.
“It is predictable that the No side would resort to scaremongering and distractions during the final week of the campaign. I hope that over the next four or five days we can discuss the question actually being put to the people on Friday; do you want to abolish the Seanad, yes or no? I believe Ireland has too many politicians, and that we shouldn’t be spending €20 million a year on a second chamber that we don’t need.
“Politics needs to change. And everyone will have the chance to bring about a huge change in Irish politics by voting Yes to abolish the Seanad on Friday. As we continue to reach out to more and more of the public and people tune into the importance of the vote on Friday, I am encouraged that significant numbers will turn out to become a part of this important change in our political system.”