Speaking at the count centre in Punchestown last Saturday afternoon, Fine Gael Deputy for Kildare South Martin Heydon said that a lot of undecided voters had decided to vote No near the end of the campaign.
“It’s been a very decisive vote in Kildare, no doubt about that,” he said. “To me, I would read into it as being a very conservative vote in that we put an item of reform before people and they’ve clearly said no to it in Kildare.”
Fianna Fail’s Sean O Fearghail expressed his delight with the Seanad referendum result. “It shows that the people, while they have questions about how the Seanad has traditionally operated, that they do value it as part of the institutions of the State.”
He said that those in government have to start work on Seanad reform. “I think the Taoiseach needs to get down off his high horse once this is over... I like to think that he’d take the message from the people and carry out the sort of reform that’s required,” he said.
Labour TD Jack Wall said he believed it was the wrong decision to try and abolish the Seanad, where he himself served for five years in the 1990s.
“I saw how it functioned and I was always impressed with the detail with which legislation was determined in the Seanad.
“I disagree with a lot of people who said it hasn’t a position in Irish democracy.
“I think that there will have to be reform in the Dail first before we look at actually abolishing the Seanad,” he said.