Enda Kenny, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) admitted Saturday that he had been "walloped" by Friday's referendum vote on abolition of the Seanad (Ireland's Senate).
The majority "No" vote is widely seen as a strong repudiation of Kenny's government's slavish implementation of the Troika's murderous austerity policy. The government coalition of the Fine Gael and Labour Parties had claimed that changing the Constitution to provide for a unicameral parliament would save 20 million euros. Media polls leading into the vote predicted that the Seanad abolition would pass handily. Seemingly random TV interviews showed people repeating the line that the Senators were useless and a waste of money. However, as the "No" vote showed, the citizens were really revolting against the government policies as a whole and felt that Kenny was trying to shut down the Seanad to consolidate power for his cronies in the Dail (the lower house).
After the vote was counted yesterday, the entire Irish press reported the results as a humiliation for Kenny. Senator Sean Barrett said that the Government's public relations campaign for the vote and the vote itself had cost the nation 20 million euros. He called on Kenny to resign in the face of "Enda Kenny's 20 million euro ego trip."
The government is in the midst of budget debates in the Dail. They have been involved in more draconian budget cuts and have faced protests against their union-busting tactics, the banksters' foreclosures and repossessions, and the massive unemployment and emigration. Many TDs (members of parliament) have quit both Fine Gael and the Labour parties, remaining in the Dail as independents. The results of the referendum could bring down the government, or at the very least, could lead to what they call in Ireland a heave against the leaders of both parties in the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.