TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said it is likely the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad will be held in the latter half of next year.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday he said, “We have not made a decision on this, but I would envisage that it would be held in the latter half of 2013.”
Kenny said he does not intend to publish any documentation relating to the abolition of the Seanad until he is satisfied that it is all in place.
He said it would be advisable to hold the referendum after Ireland’s EU Presidency which runs from 1 January to the end of June 2013.
“The Ministers will be attending Presidency meetings during that period and I do not think it would be practical to divert the attention of the Oireachtas for three or four weeks on the issue of any referendum,” he said.
He also said there were articles of the Constitution that need to be amended which contain reference to the Seanad and “it must be provided that there are no unintended consequences of such an amendment”.
Responding to the Taoiseach’s comments Socialist Party TD Joe Higgans said Kenny was a “recent convert to the abolition of the Seanad”.
“Some of us have expressed the view for decades that it is thoroughly undemocratic and a rotten elitist borough which should go,” he said.
Kenny said this period of government will see “more referendums put to the people than in the lifetime of many previous governments”.
“It is about having an effective, clear strategy and allowing the [constitutional] convention to be effective in doing its work,” he added.