Doyens of democracy such as Michael McDowell are all promising dire consequences if the Senate is abolished.
The Senate is, of course, an inherently elitist undemocratic institution – its members are voted for, not by the public, but by various interest groups.
Others are chosen by councillors, and some are simply appointed by politicians. The standing prime minister, for instance, can appoint eleven senators.
It is a talking shop full of wafflers and inadequates (with the notable exception of Ivana Bacik) that has no real power, and can only delay Dail decisions. It is a also a handy depositary for failed politicians such as McDowell, who was rejected by voters at the 2007 general election.
Here are some interesting facts:
- Senators are paid an annual salary of €65,650. There are expenses on top of that, of course.
- Between January and March of this year, senators sat for only 29 days.
- The country's national debt is something in the region of €200 billion.
(All data from Sunday Times, 2/6/'13).
Not only should the Senate be scrapped due to it being elitist and undemocratic – it is a politicians' comfort blanket we can ill afford.
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