Local Government and Parliamentary Reform

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Local Government Reform Bill 2013] Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoir agus leis an Seanadóir Bradford for giving me time. I will be very brief. I would like to draw an analogy that I am sure the Minister has heard many times today. It is in the … 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

It is time for change. Seanad reform would be a small first step.


When I ran for election in 2011 I stated that I would campaign for reform or abolition of the currently undemocratic Seanad. This week, I am honouring that commitment by introducing a Seanad reform bill to the chamber, a bill which if passed would not only democratise the electoral process for the upper house by … Continue reading

Seanad Reform

When I ran for the Seanad a year ago I stated that I would never run again for it as currently constituted. There is a very strong case to be made for either its abolition or reform. My three complaints about the Seanad are that it is undemocratic. It has introduced an electoral cast system … Continue reading

Call for a debate on health policy reform

This should not be another of the very worthy but piecemeal debates we have had on individual pieces of legislation, which could be broadly construed as part of an overall agenda for reform, but I believe they are not. The fundamentals of reform of our health system were contained in the programme for Government synthesised … Continue reading

Proposed Seanad Abolition

I confess that I am not from Mayo but my three children are half Mayo. The reason I mention this is that I am trying to use that influence with two famous Mayo parliamentarians who have proven somewhat elusive on issues on which I have sought clarification. One of them is the Taoiseach. Yet again … Continue reading

Women in politics and political funding

Speaking on the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Bill I have a feeling that this is one of those days when I should have hid in my office and not say anything because no matter what I say or do, the Bill will be passed and all I can do is lose a few friends, if … Continue reading

Priorities within Public Sector Reform and Cutbacks

While listening to a radio interview the other evening I heard the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, in somewhat of a Freudian slip, refer to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform as the Minister for Howlin. I must admit that I am howling now myself about something that has been brought to … Continue reading

A Bureausceptic View of Health Reform

A beureauskeptic view of health reform

Business and Finance – June 2007 There was a strange irony in the recent election. Minister Harney, a politician with an impeccable small-government low-tax reputation went to the country defending her record, which consisted of developing a huge, all-powerful tax-guzzling health bureaucracy. Liz McManus, her prospective Labour party replacement as Minister for Health, who came from … Continue reading

Call for ‘democracy’ debate to discuss surrender of national sovereignty to EU and parliamentary reform

I propose that … the Taoiseach might come before the House to discuss the future of democracy in this country. I do not wish to be overly dramatic but the Taoiseach is a member of a party which prides itself on having — with some small exceptions during its history — a great adherence to … Continue reading