We are voting in a referendum to abolish or keep the Seanad on Friday October the 4th. Most people will have the opportunity for the first time in their lives to have a say on matters relating to the Seanad. The arguments for keeping the Seanad are farcical at best. The arguments for abolishing it are relatively simple, The Seanad provides no checks and balances, it never has, it has no power to do anything, it is obsolete.
The only people who are interested in the daily workings of the Seanad are lobbyists, politicians, journalists, political nerds and other similar undesirables. Who you should avoid at all costs if you happen to meet any in real life. To the average voter for whom the Seanad is as important as what the neighbour had for breakfast, it just will not feature in their everyday existence, Unless a Senator says or does something really stupid or interesting.
What the Seanad does really well, is generate massive of amounts of unintentional humour, disgust and outrage. Here are some of the most bizarre bits from the Seanad this year, for your viewing pleasure or disgust.
Fianna Fáil Senator Jim Walsh is a farmer so you would think he would have some modicum of basic anatomical knowledge. Apparently not. Here he claims a woman has gone to England six times for an abortion this year, he made this claim on the 17th of July.
Independent Senator Mary Ann O’Brien linked fluoride to certain cases of down syndrome and cancer. Causing the science community some dismay and outrage. But no one else noticed, thankfully. Oxford Scientist, David Robert Grimes (@drg1985) takes the Senator to task for her scare-mongoring in his article for the Irish Times
Comedy gold from Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden. He tells the Seanad, Hitler and Mussolini were good christians during a debate on keeping the Seanad. How Hitler and Mussolini wrangled their way into a debate on the future of the Seanad is a mystery to this day.
Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney wont get into your cab if you’re obviously foreign. Must make his holidays a nightmare.
Independent Senator David Norris needs no introductions, here he talks about vagina monologues and fanny’s in relation to abolishing the Seanad.
It would seem the Seanad is a place where you can say what you think even if you don’t think. Many would argue the Dáil suffers from the same affliction, at least we can vote our TD’s of office.