The Budget is going to be €5billion of nothing but bad news all round and the government need to show that the political class is also willing to 'take the pain' and to take some of the attention off the worse measures in the Budget. They need a 'spectacular' to achieve this and minor percentage pay or expenses cuts just won't cut it. The government need a big wheeze to announce on budget day, and announcing a Referendum on the abolition of the Seanad more than fits the bill.
The Seanad is costing certainly at least €12million or so a year all told. It has lost all public confidence with Ivor's antics and that of other Senators. It is a no brainer that the electorate will lap this up and get rid of it with about a 90% Yes vote. Just like announcing the decentralisation plan with smarties (civil servants) for every corner of the country took all the focus off that budget, announcing a Seanad abolition Referendum in the Spring would do the same for this budget.
From the government's point of view this a no lose situation. After the by-elections on the same day as the Referendum the government's days are numbered. The Greens would not win any Seanad seat in the next Oireachtas and FF would lose at least 15 seats between Taoiseach's nominees and the fall in their vote on the panels as they will be down over 100 votes between Cllrs and lost TD's - that is nearly two quotas on some of the panels. Whereas both FG and Labour would win loads to seats to groom their candidates for the following election. It will also test FG and Labour in their commitment for 'political reform' as the greatest resistance to this move would come from those parties. They could do themselves real damage in the public eye despite Kenny's announcement after which he was rounded on by his own Senators. This is a no brainer for FF and the Greens.
Watch this space.........................