Smith campaigns for NO vote in Seanad referendum

Deputy Brendan Smith is appealing to voters across Cavan and Monaghan to send out a strong message for political reform and vote NO in the Seanad referendum on October 4th.

Fianna Fáil launched its campaign for a No vote this week, promising a vigorous campaign in every part of the country, including one million leaflets and thousands of posters nationwide.

According to Deputy Smith, voting No is the only way to demand real political reform.

 “People in this region are justifiably disillusioned with politics.  They want to see some real changes to our political system.  Scrapping the Seanad is not the answer. In fact, it will actually hand even more power over to the political elite in Dublin,” Deputy Smith said.

 “Next month voters in Cavan and Monaghan will be asked to make the largest ever amendment to our Constitution.   If it passes, it will be a major step back for democracy.  By abolishing the Seanad, Fine Gael and Labour would be cementing absolute Ministerial control over the political system and pushing politics further away from the people. 

 “Fine Gael was elected on a promise of reform.  But in reality this government, the Taoiseach and his Cabinet are even less accountable than their predecessors. The time available to question the Taoiseach has been slashed by 40%.  The introduction of Friday sittings has been a complete farce with TDs unable to discuss meaningful issues, no questions to the government allowed and no votes allowed. Fine Gael has cut the number of committees since coming to power, restricted debate, blocked sensible legislation from the opposition and forced through its own policies without proper scrutiny.  The ‘reform’ measures that were conveniently announced this week may have been nicely packaged, but when you peel back the PR they are virtually meaningless in reality as all the power will still remain in the hands of Ministers.

 “We have a real opportunity to send out a strong message in favour of radical political reform on October 4th. If the Seanad is scrapped, it will be too late to ensure we have an upper house that is more democratic, more accountable and that can scrutinise the work of Ministers on behalf of the people. 

 “The very last thing this country needs is to move politics further away from people.  Everyone agrees that the Seanad as it currently stands doesn’t work.  We need to make fundamental changes to its elections and its remit, so that the Seanad is the voice of the people and the vehicle for additional checks and balances that our political system desperately needs. 

 “I am asking voters to get out and vote on October 4th.  Vote No and demand real reform,” said Deputy Smith.

 16th September 2013

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