An independent Carrick-on-Suir councillor has called for the closure of the Seanad and taken a dim view of Labour senators, including local senator Denis Landy, who oppose its abolition.
Cllr Pierce O’Loughlin has opposed the retention of the Seanad even though its abolition would mean that Carrick-on-Suir will lose its first ever elected senator and its only Oireachtas representative in Leinster House since the 1930s.
Senator Landy from Mainstown was elected to the Seanad’s Administrative Panel in April last year after 23 years serving as councillor.
He is one of a number of Labour Party senators, who have declared their opposition to proposals to abolish the Oireachtas’ upper house.
Cllr O’Loughlin has disagreed with his former Carrick-on-Suir Town Council colleague’s stance and penned a strongly worded letter to The Nationalist outlining his views on this issue and the current state of the Irish economy.
In the letter, he declared that people lay on trolleys at South Tipperary General Hospital last week while 60 members of the Seanad were paid to be on holidays.
Cllr O’Loughlin pointedly complained that the proposed referendum on the Seanad’s abolition, as promised in the programme for Government, was being constantly deferred while Labour senators, including their own local senator, were fighting to retain the institution.
“The Seanad consists mostly of politicians, who failed to get elected to the Dail. Forty-three are elected by TDs and councillors and senators, and eleven government nominees and four are university representatives. “It costs approximately E50 million a year to keep those people in the highly paid positions while our health service is falling to pieces.”
Cllr O’Loughlin went on in his letter to decry the state of the country where “households have been sucked dry”, “our young people have been forced to emigrate” and “businesses have gone belly up” while the banks have been paid E64bn.
He accused the country’s politicians of sitting idly by and being too subservient to the Troika and called on the Government to declare a maximum wage of E200,000 in the country.
“We have household charges, septic tank charges, high costs of motor fuels, motor taxation, income tax, VAT, and a clatter of hidden charges for everything you go to do. We have jobs losses on a daily basis and a continual flow of emigration.
Cllr O’Loughlin said the time was coming when they would have to join together as a nation and shout “Stop, No More. You can’t take from the people what they don’t have.”
And he concluded that yes, he would close the Seanad because surely hospital beds and the health of our nation came first.
Senator Denis Landy said he didn’t wish to comment on the views expressed by Cllr O’Loughlin.