In support of Marriage Equality

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill] I thank the Minister for her commitment to meaningful and important social reform legislation and to this amendment. It will enable us to hold our heads high. At the risk of being complacent, I am one of the … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

My Vision

[Speaking in the Seanad on the Heads of the General Scheme of the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill ] The question before the Government of our Republic with respect to this Bill is a very simple one: does it believe in democracy or does it not? A second question is whether all citizens of … Continue reading

Political Reform

My Vision

This afternoon’s proceedings, including the Government’s amendment to the substantive motion, constitute a powerful argument in favour of emigration. This country desperately needs political reform. The disaster we faced over the last five years was not primarily due to bankers, builders or bureaucrats. Bankers and builders acted understandably, albeit in a self-defeating manner, in what … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

It is in truth a given that there is a prevalent cynicism about democracy and an increasing scepticism about its potential for reform and self improvement. Many citizens are totally alienated from the democratic process, believing that a self-perpetuating system populated by self-serving people neither reflects their wishes and values nor particularly acts in their … Continue reading

Political Reform – post referendum

[Speaking in the Seanad] There is a funny phenomenon that occurs in medicine that is probably better known in the lay press than in the medical literature which is called the near-death experience. That is something which occurs when people have had cardiac arrest or serious stroke and they are felt to be clinically dead. … Continue reading

Seanad Reform … the next steps

[Speaking in the Seanad] I thank the Taoiseach for putting the referendum to the people. He promised before the last general election that he would do so and he did. He deserves our gratitude for being honest and I hope he takes what should be for him a positive message during his period of reflection. … Continue reading

Honesty beat spin on Seanad vote… it’s now time for reform; The thoughtful electorate were troubled by Enda Kenny’s obstinate refusal to debate and the bullying of his party on future reform. There’s no time for sulking now… just action

As published in the Irish Daily Mail on 7 October 2013 THERE was a sense that the momentum was moving toward the No side in the days preceding the Seanad abolition referendum, but that perhaps it was too late. The turnaround on the day was, however, simply extraordinary, and I don’t think is entirely explained … Continue reading

Vested interests will be only ones to benefit if senators shown door

As published in the Sunday Independent on 29 September 2013 Getting rid of the upper house is a cynical ploy that won’t save a cent. Ask yourself one question as Enda requests that you abolish one half of our national parliament. Cui bono? Who benefits? Vested interests are pushing Seanad extinction as a smokescreen to … Continue reading

Seanad abolition referendum

[Speaking in Seanad Eireann} I still feel a little like a tourist when I am in the corridors of Government and Parliament and I still take an outsider’s perspective and have a sense of wonder at some of the opportunities it gives somebody who has a different day job. I had an interesting experience last … Continue reading

Seanad Abolition Referendum Legislation

My Vision

Speaking in the Seanad during Fifth Stage of the Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill 2013 ….. Fairly uniquely in this House, I ran, in the one election campaign in which I ever ran as an adult – although some would argue that one too – with a brochure that stated … Continue reading