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Reform Alliance seeks debate and wants directly elected Seanad

One of their members Denis Naughten TD also says that “there might have been a different result on Saturday had the Dáil had been reformed first.”

Peter Mathews speaking with Lucinda Creighton at a Reform Alliance meeting last month.
Peter Mathews speaking with Lucinda Creighton at a Reform Alliance meeting last month.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE REFORM ALLIANCE is seeking the suspension of all other business in the Dáil on Tuesday to allow for debate on the rejection of the Seanad referendum.

The grouping does not have the same rights as the parliamentary parties in the Dáil to influence proceedings and therefore have sought the adjournment of Dáil business under Standing Order 32 to raise a matter of national importance.

The decision to change the schedule will be made by the Ceann Comhairle on Tuesday who may also decide to allow time for debate without amending the order of business.

Five members of the grouping last week proposed a motion to establish a committee to look at possible reforms of the Seanad in the event that the referendum was defeated. They want the committee to be made up of members from across the house and present proposals to the Oireachtas no later than 20 February.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this afternoon, one of the members Denis Naughten TD said the committee must look at making the Seanad “directly accountable to the people” adding that all citizens of voting age should be eligible to vote in Seanad elections.

Naughten said that remaining lifetime of the current parliament must be used not only to reform the Seanad but also the Dáil itself,

“Maybe there might have been a different result on Saturday had the Dáil been reformed first,” he said.

This is not something that can be cut off now. We have two years of this Oireachtas yet and we should use these two years to make sure not only that the Seanad is reformed but also that the Dáil is reformed so that it can make government accountable.

The government recently introduced a number of proposed changes to Dáil procedure but Naughten indicated worry among the Reform Alliace that the government’s setback yesterday may temper their appetite for change

“We would be concerned that now that they have been defeated in the Seanad referendum that they would not implement those changes with the same vigour, ” he said.

Read: ‘An end to a fairly long saga’: Mathews’ departure not mourned in Fine Gael >

Read: RA claims Brian Walsh ‘said he wouldn’t run for FG as long as Enda Kenny is leader’ >

Read: Another referendum may be needed as part of Seanad reform process — Howlin

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Rónán Duffy

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