Abolishing the Seanad, which costs €20 million per year to run, will bring us into line with other European countries of our size, all of which only have on chamber of parliament, says Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton. It is also part of a wider political reform package aimed at reducing the cost of running the country and making politics and public administration more efficient, more effective and more democratic.
“Ireland has a far greater number of politicians than other European countries of our size. Six European countries have populations of between four and six million people; Ireland, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Slovakia. Ireland is the only one to have a second chamber of parliament. A Yes vote to abolish the Seanad, combined with the planned reduction in the number of TDs, will bring Ireland into line with our European counterparts.
“Our plan of Dail reform recently announced will not only make the Dail more efficient and transparent, it will also give the Opposition and the public a greater role in law making. A key part of this process is to continue on work already begun in overhauling the Oireachtas Committee system allowing for more extensive engagement with the public and external experts when legislation is being drafted. The Committees will also be made more independent with the Opposition and Government having an equal distribution of the Committee Chair positions.
“Dail sitting hours will also be further increased and the Dail will sit every second Friday. The Dail will also have extra time to scrutinise the budgetary process and EU legislation, as will the committees. Government backbench and Opposition TDs are also to be given greater access to Ministers. All these reforms will allow for greater transparency in our democratic processes in particular with regard to the annual Budget.
“A Yes vote on October 4th will allow the Seanad to be abolished and achieve savings of €20 million per year. This coupled with a reduction in the number of Councillors by 800, with the upcoming abolition of town councils, and the reduction of the number of TDs in the next election will help reduce costs to the exchequer and streamline national and local government to allow it to work more efficiently.