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Sinn Féin is supporting the abolition of the 'elite and out of touch' Seanad

The party’s opposition will come as a surprise given it opposed the legislation which gave effect to a referendum on the abolition of the upper house.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

SINN FÉIN WILL support the abolition of the Seanad, the party has confirmed this morning in a surprise move.

Spokesperson on finance, Pearse Doherty, has said the upper house is “elite and out of touch” and is “accountable to nobody”.

“More than 99 percent of the population have no say in who gets elected to the Seanad. The government has an inbuilt majority, so instead of holding Fine Gael and Labour to account, the Seanad rubber stamps government policy,” he said today.

The party will campaign for a Yes vote prior to the vote on 4 October, though Doherty criticised the government for not referring the issue to the Constitutional Convention for discussion prior to passing legislation recently.

He said that the Seanad has supported the government on “every single occasion” for the past two years and said his party will launch his campaign for abolition in the coming weeks.

The decision to support the referendum – and the position of the government – will come as a surprise to many observers with Sinn Féin having been an ardent critic of many government policies in the last two years.

It will be all the more surprising given the party opposed the passage of the legislation giving effect to the referendum in the Dáil and Seanad in recent weeks.

Sinn Féin currently has three senators: David Cullinane, Kathryn Reilly and Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

Read: Government confirms date for Seanad and Court of Appeal referenda

Read: Senator claiming he was offered holiday to skip Seanad vote won’t pursue matter

Video: David Norris accuses Fine Gael TD of ‘speaking out of her f***y’

Richard Bruton: The Seanad is a luxury we can no longer afford

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Hugh O'Connell

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