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"I voted No. I was disappointed with how the campaign went." - FG senator

A Fine Gael senator who was pro-abolition of the Seanad, has said that he voted against the referendum because he felt the Yes campaign was “disrespectful”.

Michael D'Arcy (centre)
Michael D'Arcy (centre)

A GOVERNMENT SENATOR has said that he voted against the abolition of the Seanad, despite being in favour of the referendum.

Michael D’Arcy told TheJournal.ie that he had been in favour of the abolition of the upper house prior to the General Election, but had wavered due to the referendum campaign.

“I took a position before the General Election that I was in favour of abolition.

“I didn’t campaign in the referendum out of respect for the people that I serve in the Seanad with.

But, when it came to it, I voted No. I was just very disappointed with the campaign. I felt it was disrespectful to this and previous Seanads.

D’Arcy said that despite being in favour of abolition at the outset of the 2011 General Election, where he lost his seat in Wexford, he took his place in the Seanad to stay involved in politics.

“I was offered an opportunity to contribute to political life and the Seanad was the last avenue.

I’m very upfront about the fact that I’m using the Seanad for my political agenda. And there are people in there who are doing the same.

Responding to a suggestion by Labour senator Mary Moran that senators who supported abolition should “do some soul-searching”, D’Arcy was unequivocal.

Moran had said:

“For those senators who advocated a Yes vote–they have some serious soul searching to do. If I did not believe my job was worthwhile or the Seanad was useful I would not continue to stay on and draw a salary from the Irish people. I would have never taken my seat if I believed my job was any number of the things claimed in the campaign on the Yes side. The senators that advocated the Yes vote must now decide whether they can in good conscience remain in a position which they have declared has no worth.”

D’Arcy responded:

Consider my soul searched. I will be finishing this term.

Read: Jigsaws, ‘The Beatles’ and €20m: Fine Gaelers rue ‘dreadful’ Seanad abolition campaign

Read: ‘We don’t really simplify things that are straightforward’: Ballot papers cause confusion

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