Kildare votes against Seanad abolition

Laura Coates


Laura Coates

Kildare 'No' votes stacked up at the Seanad Referendum 2013 count at Punchestown on Saturday, October 5.                     Photo Tony Keane
Kildare has voted in favour of retaining the Seanad.

Kildare has voted in favour of retaining the Seanad.

Some 52,766 people in the Kildare North and Kildare South constituencies turned out on Friday to vote in the two referendums.

In the Seanad Abolition referendum, the Kildare North vote was 16,712 against the amendment, with 13,890 voting in favour, a 54.61% to 45.39% split. The turnout in Kildare North was 41.13% of the electorate.

A slightly higher percentage leaned towards the No vote in Kildare South, which went 55.51% No to 44.49% Yes. The turnout was 38.12% with 9,649 people voting to abolish the Seanad and 12,041 against the proposal.

Early tallies at the Punchestown Count Centre on Saturday had indicated that both Kildare constituencies were going to vote No.

A ballot box in Nurney National School contained 79 Yes votes to 94 No votes. A box in Moone yielded 119 Yes votes and 140 No Votes. A ballot box sampled from Athgarvan National School had 104 yes votes to 117 No votes and one from the Patrician Primary School in Newbridge had 112 Yes Votes to 128 No Votes.

In Kildare North, a box from Sallins had 75 Yes votes and 97 No Votes; one from Rathcoffey 85 Yes votes and 120 No votes; one from Coill Dubh 60 Yes votes and 83 No votes. A box from Leixlip was one of the few tallied that voted Yes by a slim margin of 128 to 125 votes.

Speaking at the count centre in Punchestown on 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 think that there will have to be reform in the Dail first before we look at actually abolishing the Seanad,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kildare voted strongly in favour of the Court of Appeal amendment to the Constitution.

In Kildare North, 66.61 percent of voters ticked the Yes box, while in Kildare South, 63.14% voted Yes.