The Workers’ Party has said that
the unambiguous decision of the electorate to retain the Seanad despite the campaign by the government and others in Friday’s
referendum shows that the Irish people were clearly able to recognise the difference between a simple power grab and genuine
reform and voted accordingly.
President Michael Finnegan pointed out that the Workers’ Party was the only left wing party which campaigned for a No
vote while others had cynically coat-tailed the government’s attempted exploitation of an anti-politics sentiment.
Workers’ Party was not prepared to jump aboard a populist agenda which denigrated politics and democratic participation
in politics. We carefully analysed the proposal and rejected it because it attacked
democracy and had nothing positive going for it. Even the purported cost savings were most dubious.”
Finnegan states that: “While the Yes side appeared to be on the crest of a wave a fortnight ago it was clear that the
tide began to turn when people took a deeper look at what was being proposed. The government were deliberately tapping on
the low esteem in which politics and politicians are now held and in which their own antics have played no small role. People
realised that the referendum was neither about money nor about reform, but instead was a thinly disguised power grab. It was
simply a government which has both emasculated local government and by-passed the cabinet by concentrating power in the hands
of four ministers, now wanting to sweep aside one half of the Oireachtas and close down all questioning of senior ministers
and government policy.”
is now imperative” concluded the Michael Finnegan, “that those of us on the No side combine together to ensure
the government implements the type of reform which should have been introduced decades ago. The next Seanad, whenever it is
elected, must be elected by universal suffrage and must be elected on the same day as Dáil Éireann. If the Seanad is to be
effective and meaningful it can no longer be a refuge for failed TDs, elitist panels or cronies of the Taoiseach”.
Issued 5th October 2013