USI has called on a No vote in the upcoming Seanad referendum and instead proposes alternative political reform.
Joe O’Connor, USI president, said that “Abolishing the Seanad without any attempt to reform it would be a very short-sighted move on the part of the Government.
“A more democratic and inclusive Seanad can be part of better-functioning political system, but only if the Government commits to real reform. USI believes that the political system could be made more inclusive and representative, if the political will is there,” he said.
The USI’s political reform proposal, entitled “Free Our Voice”, calls on measures to reform the Upper House including abolishing the Economic Management Council and votes for all graduates in Seanad elections.
Launching Fine Gael’s Yes campaign yesterday, Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said that the more people learn about the Seanad, the more likely they are to vote in favour of its abolition.
He asked how many people knew that the Seanad was elected by only one per cent of the population.
“How many people know that the Seanad can only delay legislation, not overturn it, and the last time it used this power was in 1964?” he said.
Two referenda will take place on October 4 – the first concerns the abolition of the Seanad and the second concerns the establishment of a new Court of Appeal.