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Politicians Cannot Dictate who will Take their Seats

Posted on: February 23rd, 2006

Fine Gael says that the Government should agree not to contest the seat if Fine Gael Senator and MEP Jim Higgins resigns. This is wrong, I argued in the Seanad:

Mr Ross: “While it is difficult to criticise such a good parliamentarian, Senator Higgins ought to resign”.

Mr. B. Hayes:
“Then the Government would get the seat.”

Mr. Ross:
“That is preferable to an empty seat. It is wrong that anybody should dictate to whom he or she bequeaths a seat in this House, however worthy the recipient.

“It is wrong for Senator Higgins to say that he will vacate his seat if the emigrants take his place. This was a device used in the European elections by Senator Higgins to appeal for the votes of constituents whose relatives had emigrated. His tactic worked extremely well but, in terms of the status of this House, it is ridiculous for anybody to agree to vacate a seat on the condition that it goes to whomsoever he or she wishes.”