It is not only the Seanad that could be abolished with a Yes vote, but the power of the President to refer a Bill to a referendum if the President believes it is a matter of national importance.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív who is calling on Galwegians to vote No in tomorrow’s referendum to abolish Seanad Éireann.
Dep Ó Cuív said this aspect of the campaign had been ignored by the Yes campaign. According to the Connemara based TD, if there is a Yes vote, a democratic protection written into our Constitution will be scrapped. Article 27 gives the President power to refer a Bill to a referendum of the people if the President believes it is a matter of national importance.
The Yes campaign said this provision has never been used and so is of no importance. However Dep Ó Cuív said: “Just because the fire escape in a building hasn’t been used, should it be closed off? It’s crucial our Constitution contains a safeguard to allow an issue of national importance to be decided by the people.”
Dep Ó Cuív said this, and the proposal to abolish the Seanad, show the motivation behind holding this referendum is “a blatant power grab by a Government with the largest majority in the history of the State”.
He said the Irish political system needs “much greater scrutiny”.
“Instead of radically improving the system of checks and balances, the Government wants to remove it entirely so that all the control remains in the hands of ministers,” he said. “If the Seanad is abolished, it will be too late reform it. A reformed Seanad could act as a brake on an arrogant government.”