Cash-strapped Ireland asks voters to close Senate

DUBLIN (AP) — Irish government leaders have issued final appeals to voters to back the abolition of the country’s Senate, an upper parliamentary chamber long decried as elitist and ineffective, in a cost-cutting move.

Most opposition lawmakers support the government’s constitutional amendment to close the 60-senator chamber. But the proposal requires public support in Friday’s referendum. Results are expected Saturday.

Opponents, chiefly in the opposition Fianna Fail (FEEN’-uh fall) party, argue the government is seeking to centralize its own powers by removing an upper house that scrutinizes and occasionally delays the passage of bills. They reject the government’s campaign promise that closing the Senate would save 20 million euros ($27 million) annually.

Ireland’s 1937 constitution created a powerful lower house of parliament and weak upper house. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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