The polls are now open for voting in the Seanad Abolition Referendum, and will remain open until 10pm this evening. If you need a reminder of why this vote is so important, take a look at the following five reasons to Vote No in today’s referendum.
1. Stop the Power Grab
The Seanad is a safeguard on government power. This government has systematically broken its pre-election promises to change how the system works and concentrated power into fewer and fewer hands. A reformed Seanad can make sure that power does not go unquestioned either with this government or even more importantly unknown future governments. Voting NO will make sure we have a Seanad to keep a close check on government power.
2. Protect the Constitution
The checks and balances built into the constitution have served this country for over 80 years. The government’s plan to fundamentally change over 40 articles of the fundamental law of the land is taking an axe to a system that has protected the rights of the Irish people since 1937. Voting NO stops the constitution being completely dismembered by the government.
3. Keep Article 27
Article 27 allows the President to refer controversial bills directly to the people for a referendum. It is an important check against over powerful politicians. Like a fire escape or insurance policy, just because it has not been used so far does not mean it is not needed. Voting NO keeps this insurance in place.
4. Different Voices
The Seanad has been a strong forum for people who would otherwise not have had a place in Irish political life. For example Mary Robinson, Seamus Mallon, Gordon Wilson have all offered fresh perspectives and helped influence the political conversation in Ireland. If this is passed, we lose these voices and close the door to outside experts in government. Voting NO allows for these different voices to be part of Irish politics.
5. A Demand for Real Reform
The crisis has exposed the failings in how we do politics in Ireland. We need to build a new system that is fit for purpose. This referendum is a cynical stunt based on blatant government lies and if passed, closes the door on meaningful reform. A NO vote is a demand for real change.