Independent TD Mattie McGrath has confirmed his intention to oppose the proposed abolition of the Seanad. The Taoiseach said the Seanad abolition and accompanying Dáil reforms would lead to a more efficient political system. He also said Ireland had too many politicians for its size and there was now no need for a second chamber like the Seanad:
“Of all the promises the Taoiseach promised to keep this one is way down the list. As it stands people are already experiencing deep levels of dissatisfaction with the levels of Government accountability. To abolish the Seanad will only serve to reinforce the sense that there is far too much power centralised around the Government of the day. I would much rather see a reformed and rejuvenated Seanad than to simply destroy a valuable institution which despite its present inefficiencies can still serve a vital democratic purpose.”
The proposal by the Taoiseach is expected to be met with considerable opposition, as even the Labour Party Whip Emmet Stag has indicated his intention not to campaign for abolition. Deputy McGrath said this highlighted that the Taoiseach has continued to pick the wrong battles to fight:
“We need a Taoiseach that keeps his commitments to do politics in a different way, an honest and more transparent way. Before the election he would not stop talking about report cards for ministers and backbenchers, but since then he has utterly failed to hold anyone accountable. How he can now try and hold himself up as a champion of greater accountability by seeking to abolish the Seanad is a mystery to me. He should spend less time listening to his spin doctors and advisers who are un-elected and more to the people who gave him his mandate when they elected him at the last election,” concluded Deputy McGrath.