RICHARD BRUTON HAS said that he is “absolutely” happy to present a cheque for €20 million to the Irish public in four years’ time if the Seanad is abolished.
The Fine Gael Director of Elections told reporters today that he would be “happy to do that” when specifically asked if he would come back in 2017 with a cheque for €20 million for the Irish public.
This will be the year after the Seanad is abolished if the referendum passes, assuming the Dáil runs its full term and a general election is held in spring 2016.
Bruton was again quizzed about Fine Gael’s claim that abolishing the Seanad will save €20 million a year today. This claim continues to be made despite the Oireachtas Commission confirming it is not possible to estimate the actual net saving that would be achieved from abolition.
The debate over cost has been contentious throughout the campaign with the No side frequently hitting out at Fine Gael’s savings claim. Today a poll found that the main reason for likely Yes voters opting for abolition is the cost argument.
Bruton said the advice from the Oireachtas Commission is clear: “They have said that they can’t estimate the saving and the case is that government must realise the savings and we’re very clear on that.”
“I think government has a very good track record on undertaking redeployment of resources from obsolete bodies that we close down and this is the same case.”
“This is a body that, in our view, is politically obsolete. We need to make those savings and we can manage our political affairs with an effective Dáil and we’re going to make the changes to make sure that the Dáil is effective.”