Seanad – No vote shows depths of anger and distrust in Government

Press Statement: Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party)

Following today’s No vote in the Seanad abolition referendum, Socialist Party Campaign Director, Paul Murphy MEP commented:

“The No vote is an indication of the deep distrust of the government and shows that people have a desire to check and hold back the pro-austerity political establishment.  It certainly cannot be interpreted as an endorsement of the elitist and undemocratic Seanad.

“In order assist with the implementation of the troika’s policies this Fine Gael/Labour government and their predecessors in Fianna Fáil and the Greens have systematically attacked democratic rights; concentrating more power in unelected and unaccountable bodies.   This backdrop is a crucial factor in explaining why people distrusting this government.

“In the course of the campaign, instead of a debate about these vital issues around the erosion of democratic rights, we were treated to a shallow row between establishment parties. At every turn the establishment dodged a real debate about the nature of democracy in this state.

“This government’s campaign was deeply cynical and lacked any shred of credibility. Fine Gael and Labour have been systematically attacking democratic rights and people were rightly sceptical of them. Their focus on a bogus €20m savings figure when at the same time they have been cutting billions from vital public services and foisting regressive taxes on working people served to anger whole sections of working class people.

“Regardless of today’s result we’ll still be living in a state in which key decisions that impact on the lives of the vast majority are taken in the boardrooms and on the trading floors in the interests of the banks bondholders and big business.

“We cannot rely on the Seanad or other establishment institutions to stand up for working people. The only real break we can put on their austerity policies is by getting organised to fight back against austerity and the erosion of democratic rights that goes hand in hand with it. I therefore urge people to attend the pre-budget demonstration on 12 October and put pressure on the trade union leaders to stop sitting on their hands and mobilise against austerity.”