Offaly Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has welcomed the outcome of the two referendums held at the weekend on the Seanad and the Court of Appeal, describing the Seanad referendum result as ‘a clear message for real political reform’
Deputy Cowen commented, “The message from voters in Offaly was loud and clear at the weekend – they want real change in the political system and an end to cynical politics. The No vote on the abolition of the Seanad is a complete rejection of the Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin platform. What we saw was a Government trying to increase their own power, supported Sinn Féin whose political opportunism backfired because they underestimated the intelligence of the Irish people to see their campaign for what it was.
He welcomed the public’s support for the establishment of a Court of Appeal and he said he believed the strong Yes vote there dispels any notion from Fine Gael and Sinn Féin that voters were confused.
He continued, “During the campaign Fine Gael arrogantly stated there would be no reform of the Seanad if the referendum was defeated. People in Offaly did not vote for more of the same, they want real change. The Taoiseach has a duty now to engage with other parties and civil society in a serious discussion about real reform of our parliament and government.”
He concluded by stating, “We have tabled a list of proposed reforms including a significant move of power from Ministers to the Oireachtas. These proposals, and those of others including Senators Quinn and Zappone, should now be discussed. We need an end to the arrogant and dictatorial approach from this Government.”