Independent Senator (quietly) (re)joins Labour Party. Not that she really left. September 28, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
It may have slipped peoples notice, but the strangest thing happened last week when Senator Ivana Bacik, formerly Independent Senator, moved onto the Labour benches. Granted her candidacy for the Labour Party in the Dublin Central by-election, and her previous membership (and perhaps continuing, I’m not entirely certain of her status in that regard during the past two years since her election as an Independent) were great big clues that the life of the solitary Independent weren’t necessarily a permanent course she had fixed upon. But… one wonders what her plans are next. Can’t see a grateful Trinity electorate necessarily giving her the same support now she’s flying a party flag – they seem uncomfortable about such things. That is if there is even a TCD electorate if the government lasts and certain proposals come into play as regards the future of the Seanad. And that puzzles me a little. I’ve always had enormous admiration for her and she has taken an extremely courageous stance on a raft of issues over the years, and I quite respected her not quite in Labour approach over the past two years or so (which also, perhaps gave her more freedom than one might have expected) and it’s hard to see how this benefits her.
The comments in the illustrious second chamber on this topic were… well, read for yourselves…
Senator Joe O’Toole:In the meantime, I would like us to have a discussion on the public sector and what it is contributing to the economy in order that those working within it would see there is respect for them in some parts of public life.
During the summer the Leader of the House issued a statement on Seanad reform. Is he ready for it? We know about the University Senators and will go along with it. What about the next reform? There has been no word about it. The media hopped onto it and it is the one issue on which everyone is agreed. A House in respect of which every citizen of the State does not have a vote in its construction is no longer acceptable in a democracy. The McCarthy report is correct. The Seanad either needs to be reformed or abolished. That is the end of the matter.
I would like the House to note, with some sadness on these benches, that we have lost one of our illustrious Members who has moved slightly forward and to the right.
An Cathaoirleach:The Senator on the Order of Business please.
Senator Joe O’Toole:Senator Bacik has moved to the Labour Party benches.
Senator Cecilia Keaveney:Just as well she ran. [huh?]
Senator Alex White:In so far as Senator O’Toole is allowed to express his sadness at the loss of Senator Bacik to the Labour Party benches, I note with great pleasure that she has joined us on them. I am sure she will impress and prosper as much as she did on the other benches which, I notice, have been augmented by another Senator. We were not informed about that before the House met.
Senator Joe O’Toole:Of course, we were informed.
Senator Alex White:I wish the Sinn Féin and Independent Senators well in the forthcoming session.
Senator Ivana Bacik:I thank Senators Alex White and O’Toole for their kind words. Although I have made a small physical move forward and to the right, of course, I stay politically exactly where I was before, which is firmly on the left. I have the privilege of having been elected by the graduates of Dublin University to represent them in the Seanad and I will continue to work hard to do so.
Senator Rónán Mullen:That individual indicated that there is a certain irony in the EU providing the freedom to work and live in its different member states, yet Ireland will not grant the means to vote for those of us who may be out of the country on polling day. Can we have a debate on the need to change that position soon?
On a final point, I compliment and wish well my colleague, Senator Bacik. In moving to the Labour Party she has clearly wrestled with her conscience.
An Cathaoirleach:That is not relevant to the Order of Business.
Senator Rónán Mullen:I am not sure if she has won or lost that wrestling match.
An Cathaoirleach:The leaders of the groups have spoken on that matter.
Senator Rónán Mullen:Neither Senator O’Toole nor myself——
An Cathaoirleach:The Senator is not the leader of his group.
Senator Rónán Mullen:——is sure whether there will be a by-election on the Trinity panel but we would like to wish her well in any case. I can assure her that physically at least I will be behind her all the way from now on.
An Cathaoirleach:Senator Mullen, please desist. I call Senator Walsh.
Senator Cecilia Keaveney:Senator Bacik should watch her back. [huh- again?]
Senator Ivana Bacik:I will.