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Richard Bruton Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Seanad referendum

Fianna Fáil: Letter published by The Referendum Commission 'discredits' Fine Gael's campaign

Fianna Fáil’s director of Elections Niall Collins TD says the Fine Gael campaign has been ‘exposed as untrue’.

FIANNA FÁIL HAS said that correspondence published by The Referendum Commission with the Houses of the Oireachtas that states it is “not possible to estimate” the savings the Seanad abolition will make ‘discredits’ Fine Gael’s campaign.

The letter from the House of the Oireachtas states that the annual cost of the Seanad was confirmed as being €20 million, but this figure “may not translate fully” into savings in the event of abolition and that it was “not possible to estimate” the savings.

Apologise

Fianna Fáil’s director of Elections Niall Collins TD is calling on Fine Gael’s Richard Bruton to apologise for misleading voters in the run-up to the Seanad referendum.

In a statement, Collins said he is calling for direct intervention by the Referendum Commission because the ”Fine Gael campaign was exposed as untrue in correspondence published by the Referendum Commission”.

A cornerstone of Fine Gael’s Seanad abolition campaign is that it would save €20 million.

Seeking clarity

The Referendum Commission wrote to the Oireachtas seeking clarity on the cost savings arising from the abolition due to people getting in touch with them about the costs.

Collins states that the correspondence exposes the Fine Gael campaign “as untrue” adding that the campaign has been “discredited. He states:

There is now a strong case for the Referendum Commission to intervene and give a definitive statement on what savings there would be in the event of abolition for each year in the next five years.  Richard Bruton and those few other remaining Fine Gael representatives who are being sent into the media to defend their campaign could demonstrate some good faith by supporting this call.

The truth is that if the Seanad is abolished, there will not be a single cent saved in the lifetime of this Government. We now know that any future savings would be a fraction of what the Government has claimed.

Meanwhile,  Fine Gael’s Deputy Director for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, Regina Doherty TD says she welcomes the “confirmation from the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission that it costs €20 million a year to run the Seanad”.

She said the figure of €20 million has been available for months adding, “Despite what Fianna Fáil and others are claiming, I don’t think we should waste another 75 years trying to find a role for the Seanad. Seanad reform hasn’t worked in the last eight decades, and reform isn’t an option on the ballot paper”.

Speaking on RTE today, Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe TD said the figure of €20 million “was validated clearly” yesterday.

When asked about the posters stating that the abolition would save €20 million, he said “there are no lies there”.

FG: Scrapping the Seanad saves €20m. Oireachtas: Um, there’s no way to know>

Martin accepts RTÉ invite to debate on Seanad abolition but Taoiseach not keen>

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