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• Where was Fergal Quinn’s Bill during the many years he has spent in Seanad Eireann? • The Quinn-Zappone Bill does not address fundamental flaws Former minister Gemma Hussey has said her experience in political life shows that the Seanad has ‘virtually no role in influencing national events’. At a public meeting in Dublin this evening Gemma Hussey - a former member of Seanad Eireann - said: ‘I was elected as an Independent Senator from the National University of Ireland in 1977, with no intention of going any further in politics. But I learned quite quickly that Seanad Eireann had virtually no role in influencing national events. If I wanted to get real change in the areas dear to me – legislation for women’s rights, social justice, pluralism, reconciliation in Northern Ireland – it was not going to happen in the Senate.’ ‘Irish politics desperately needs courage and imagination. It needs to shed out-dated structures, like the Senate. Dail Eireann needs to become a small, effective entity. Much more reform is needed, so that more people of ability and expertise will be attracted to serve there. The electoral system itself needs new scrutiny – and that needs strong leadership. Garret FitzGerald had no doubt about that when he asked me to run for the Dail for Fine Gael. The catalyst for this approach was the election of Charles J. Haughey as Fianna Fail leader and Taoiseach. ‘All during my political life and afterwards, I have observed the Senate remaining unchanged. Sometimes it looked as if something might be done because of all those reports – but no, they stayed on the shelves untouched. Strong voices and influential Senators were apparently content to forget the reports. Now, unfortunately, they
wring their hands and blame successive governments. Where was Fergal Quinn’s Bill during the many years he has spent in Seanad Eireann? However, the Quinn-Zappone Bill does not begin to address the fundamental flaws in the whole structure.’ Gemma Hussey was speaking at a public meeting organised by Senator Susan O’Keeffe at the offices of the European Parliament. She is a supporter of the One House group which is campaigning for a Yes vote in the Seanad referendum. Contact details: Web: Twitter: Email:
www.onehouse2013.com @onehouse2013 onehouseYES@gmail.com
About One House One House is an independent civil society group supporting a yes vote in the referendum to abolish Seanad Éireann. One House is not aligned with any political party and exists solely as a campaign group for the 2013 Seanad referendum. It is funded by its supporters and its budget will not exceed €2,000. One House Supporters Eamon Delaney, author and columnist; Barry Desmond, former minister; Martina Devlin, author and columnist; Sean Patrick Donlan, law lecturer UL; Alan Dukes, former minister; Blair Horan, trade unionist; Richard Humphreys, senior counsel and local councillor; Gemma Hussey, former minister; Finola Kennedy, member of Constitutional Review Group; Liz McManus, former minister; Arthur Morgan, former TD; Kieran Mulvey, public servant; Jason O’Mahoney, political blogger; Eoin O’Malley, university lecturer; Jim Power, economist; Kevin Rafter, university lecturer and former journalist; Mervyn Taylor, former minister; Liam Thornton, law lecturer UCD; Mary Trayers, solicitor.