Government hasn't discussed Seanad abolition - Minister

Joan Burton says the referendum on the Upper House hasn't been reviewed in detail

The Social Protection Minister says the government has not discussed the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad in detail yet.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach outlined details of an amendment to the constitution, which - if passed - would see the Seanad cease to exist after the next general election.

Labour whip Emmet Stagg is quoted in today's Irish Independent as saying he will vote against the government's proposals.

Speaking this morning to Newstalk's Breakfast, Minister Joan Burton says the party hasn't discussed the referendum in detail yet, but she expects Mr. Stagg to support the holding of the referendum, though he may choose to vote against the abolition of the Seanad in the ballot box:

Conor O'Mahoney, constitutional law lecturer at UCC favours reform, not abolition; "The issue that we have too much power concentrated in the Dáil - more particularly in the government and in the Cabinet... abolishing the Seanad isn't going to solve that problem, it's going to exacerbate it. It's going to take one of the important checks and balances in our political system out of the equation altogether."

Mr. O'Mahoney also maintains that the savings that would be made are not particularly large.

John Whelan, Labour Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Communications and Natural Resources, told Newstalk's Breakfast he doesn't believe there is any political stomach for the abolition of the Seanad: