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let it go

Not happy - Fine Gael senators have been giving out about All Ireland tickets... again

The Seanad was today discussing a bill concerning its own reform, and ended up covering some well-trodden ground.

Michael Fitzsimons and Philip McMahon with Barry Moran James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

A NUMBER OF Fine Gael senators have had their say on the GAA’s refusal to allow them purchase tickets for the All Ireland Football Final last month.

Two Fine Gael senators, Michelle Mulherin and Catherine Noone, had complained at the time that, as natives of counties contesting the final, they were nevertheless unable to buy tickets even though TDs were.

Another Fine Gael senator, Paddy Burke, today rose to discuss the current Seanad reform Bill, which is at its second stage in the upper house.

Citing the experience of Mulherin before the All Ireland, Burke said “it is also important that we take stock of where we are at the moment” in relation to how the Seanad is perceived publicly.

padd Paddy Burke Rollingnews.ie Rollingnews.ie

“The senator (Mulherin) highlighted publicly, as an instance of discrimination against members of this House, a letter she received from the GAA indicating that deputies would be offered tickets for sale for the All-Ireland Football Final but senators would not,” he said.

I got the same letter and I fully subscribe to the senator’s view on the matter.

Burke went on to take his fellow party member and MEP Seán Kelly to task: “The GAA proceeded to roll out its former president… Seán Kelly, who said the organisation had to draw a line somewhere.”

It certainly drew a clear line between Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann in this case.

“This particular incident affords us an opportunity to take stock of how we are viewed by the GAA and the media,” Burke added.

He went on to draw attention to the fact that RTÉ’s Mary Wilson, when speaking to Mulherin last month on Drivetime, had asserted that Mulherin is “only a Taoiseach’s nominee”.

“As if to say that members nominated to the House in this way are different from other members,” he said.

gabrie Gabrielle McFadden Rollingnews.ie Rollingnews.ie

Later in the debate another Fine Gael senator, Gabrielle McFadden, agreed with Burke and asserted that senators are “treated like second-class citizens in the House”.

“I do not want to go back over the GAA ticket matter… but it is an issue,” she said.

For example, Tuesday was budget day and all deputies were given tickets for the gallery for visitors to hear the budget statement. Senators, however, were not afforded the same luxury.
The allocation of visitor tickets was unfair and not right.

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