Labour in the Seanad. Keen to stay there too, so it would seem. June 26, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
Niamh Connolly writes in the SBP about those hardy souls in the Seanad representing the Labour Party who have begun to campaign (and more – right up to voting – albeit not directly on the issue) against abolition. According to Connolly ‘They are also insisting that there is “an understanding” with party leader Eamon Gilmore that they have a free vote on the Seanad’s future’. That seems mighty odd to me though in fairness the LP was always more muted on the issue of abolition and according to the SBP sought ‘reform’ during the election.
The problem is that this impacts with the Coalition’s policy and more directly FG’s outright bid to abolish the chamber.
In fairness they do have a point in relation to the bizarre approach by the Coalition not to allow the Seanad to feature in the constitutional convention. To omit it is to constrain the convention from full engagement with the currently existing Constitution. And that’s the Constitution we’ve got as distinct from the one FG or the LP or whoever might like.
The following should be interesting.
Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and independent nominees oppose its abolition, as do other senators, such as businessman Feargal Quinn. Labour senator Ivana Bacik is speaking in UCD next week to oppose its abolition. This leaves the government exposed in relation to any votes on the Seanad abolishing itself.
That’s quite a wide array of forces and one wonders if they were brought to bear seriously upon the matter would they be likely to influence public opinion. As noted last week it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that were the issue put to a referendum tomorrow it would see the Seanad sail out of existence. But it won’t be put to a vote tomorrow and there are those who will fight the good fight to see its retention – though presumably in a radically different form.