Gilmore will not censure Labour members who campaign for a No

22 Sep No Comments

first_imgTÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has indicated that there will be no censure for Labour members who go against the party line in campaigning for the retention of the Seanad.Speaking at the official launch of Labour’s referendum campaign, Gilmore said that in a referendum people are asked a question as citizens and that the party would respect that in the case of members.“In all parties there are individual public representatives and members who take a a view different to the official view of a party, ” he said.This is something we’ve had before. I recall during  the course of European referenda, some public representatives took a view different to the official party position and there was no consequences in those cases. Labour senators John Whelan and John Kelly were today planning to join former Fianna Fáil minister Mary O’Rourke in Athlone to canvass to keep the Seanad. Other Labour senators including Denis Landy and Ivana Bacik are also believed to be considering getting involved with the Democracy Matters group who want to keep the Seanad. Flanked by deputy leader Joan Burton and director of elections Alex White in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, Gilmore said that there is ‘simply is no longer any case for having two parliaments’.He said that one parliamentary body is sufficient for a country of Ireland’s size and added that there are two primary reasons why some countries have a secondary chamber. The first he said is in the case of countries who previously have an aristocracy and cited the UK as an example.  The second he said is in the case of very large countries who have diverse regional differences, Gilmore cited the US and Germany as examples.Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said that the Seanad is ‘surplus to requirements’ and a ‘reformed single chamber’ is what is needed.Much of the debate coming from the ‘No’ side, including Fianna Fáil, has focused on the need for a reformed functioning Seanad as opposed to it’s abolition, but Minister Burton said years of arguments on this have produced nothing:We have had, like everybody else in the political process, as a political party, long discussions down the years about the Seanad. I know a lot of people talk about reforming the Seanad but having sat through lots of detailed proposals about it’s reform, I really think the correct choice is being put to the people here to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.Read: Fine Gael councillor erects posters calling for No vote in Seanad referendum >Read: Fianna Fáil thinks Seanad abolition is ‘transparently ridiculous’, but Fine Gael disagrees >last_img

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