Seanad Report Special: Ingrates! June 21, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
Trust Stephen Collins to characterise three LP Senators voting against the Coalition and with FF/SF and Independents as a ‘crack in the Coalition’. If it were over any other issue than the one it was one might be a quarter inclined to believe that rhetoric, but trouble is the issue they decided to go apostate on was the following:
The crack in the Coalition came on a Fianna Fáil motion calling for the future of the Seanad to be considered by the constitutional convention, which is to be established next month.
The Labour Senators joined Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Independents and most of the Taoiseach’s non-political nominees in voting against the Government. The Fianna Fáil motion was carried by 26 votes to 23 with Fine Gael and the majority of Labour Senators voting against.
Note that this is implicitly about the retention of the Seanad rather than its abolition (I’m broadly in favour of the former if the manner in which it is composed is entirely reworked).
And as Collins also notes:
The Coalition has committed itself in the programme for government to holding a referendum to abolish the Seanad and the issue has been excluded from the remit of the convention. The original commitment to abolish the Seanad was made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny while he was in opposition.
But why this issue? And why now? And why does it all seem a little self-serving?
But for some of us as interesting is the manner in which the Taoiseach’s nominees, not as Collins would put it ‘non-political nominees’ (after all one jumped, or is it ran, to Fine Gael not that long ago), but simple nominees voted with the opposition. There’ve been other small acts of apostasy too on their part. And there’s gratitude for you! Enda Kenny might be wondering did he get the right list when he made the nominations.
None of it matters in the slightest, though it might signal a certain disquiet as regards the policy direction of the Government in relation to the Seanad. But I can’t help but think that if a referendum were held anytime in the foreseeable future on the life of that body it would be curtains for it.