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The 1 per cent: Socialist Party say 99 per cent didn't vote in last Seanad election

The party says that wealthier people are far more likely to have a vote on the make-up of the house.

The Socialist Party launched their Seanad referendum campaign today.
The Socialist Party launched their Seanad referendum campaign today.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE SOCIALIST PARTY launched its campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in in the Seanad referendum by saying that affluent areas have a far greater say in the make-up of the house.

The party says that it has examined the electoral rolls for the NUI and Trinity Seanad seats and found some ‘stark’ figures. The party’s councillor Ruth Coppinger said that when you compare areas, those registered to vote in Seanad elections are far more likely to be from the wealthier spots.

“For example, Torquay Road in Foxrock has 67 votes out of 68 houses whereas the whole of Dublin 10 has 126 votes in 8,600 houses” she said. “That said even in those better off areas most people do not have a vote.”

At present there are three seats in the Seanad that are elected by graduates of the National Univesity of Ireland and a further three seats voted on by graduates of Trinity College Dublin. Students who graduate from the institutions must apply to be eligible to vote.

Coppinger says that the Socialist Party intend to emphasise that most people never get a vote on the Seanad regardless of their education. She added that people now actually have a chance to vote on the Seanad and they should use the opportunity to abolish what she described as a ‘classist institution’.

‘Cynical stunt’

The party’s director of elections Paul Murphy MEP said that the referendum is a ‘cynical stunt’ by Government because they have consistently undermined the democratic institutions by allowing the European Commission have an increasing say on policy. Despite this he feels that people should ‘seize the opportunity’ of abolishing the Seanad, not least he says because it has had ‘rubberstamped austerity’:

The rule of the 1 per cent, highlighted by the 1 per cent of the population which voted for the Seanad in the last elections, and the 1 per cent which is benefiting from austerity according to yesterday’s Oxfam report, must be ended.

Read: Fianna Fáil thinks Seanad abolition is ‘transparently ridiculous’, but Fine Gael disagrees >

Read: Here’s how the Dáil will pass legislation if the Seanad is abolished >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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