Thursday, July 26, 2007

Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign Spokesperson Elected To Seanad

The Irish Times

Bacik joins Norris and Ross in Seanad
By Carl O'Brien

Trinity panel: Prof Ivana Bacik was elected to the Seanad yesterday on the eighth count, joining Shane Ross and David Norris in the three-seat Trinity College constituency.

She finished almost 2,500 votes ahead of her nearest competitor, Dr Maurice Guéret, who had run on an independent platform to represent Trinity on scientific and health matters.
Prof Bacik, a Labour Party member who ran in the last European election, was endorsed by outgoing Senator Mary Henry who did not contest this election.

The Reid professor of law at Trinity, Prof Bacik follows in the footsteps of former president Mary Robinson, who represented the college in the Seanad for almost 20 years. President Mary McAleese was also Reid professor of law at Trinity.

Speaking after her election, Prof Bacik said she was delighted with the result which she said represented support for a "radical social agenda".

"It's a vote for furthering the unfinished business of the liberal agenda, such as legal recognition for gay partners, parental leave for fathers in the workplace, women's reproductive rights, as well as other issues such as criminal justice and prison reform," she said.

Although a member of the Labour Party, she has insisted she will not take the party whip in the Seanad in order to maintain the traditional independence of Trinity senators.

Among the first pieces of legislation she said she hoped to put before the Seanad will be a Climate Change Bill, which seeks to put in place enforceable Government targets for reducing carbon emissions.

It is Prof Bacik's third time contesting the Seanad election. She won 2,794 first preference votes on the first count, behind Shane Ross - who was elected with 5,379 votes - and David Norris - who was elected with 5,240 votes. Ms Bacik received the majority of transfers in the distribution of surplus votes from both candidates.

Transfers from the elimination of David Hutchinson Edgar, who has served on the national council for the Green Party, eventually saw her exceed the quota of 4,230 votes on the eighth count. Dr Maurice Guéret finished on the eighth count with 1,828 votes, followed by Rosaleen McDonagh, who had hoped to become the first Traveller to be elected to the Oireachtas, with 1,168 votes.

Businessman Séan O'Connor, a grandson of former taoiseach Seán Lemass and nephew of the late Charles Haughey, finished with 889 votes. David Hutchinson Edgar, a lecturer who had the formal backing of the Green Party, was eliminated on the seventh count with 573 votes.

From The Irish Independent
By Michael Brennan

In the three-panel Trinity election, Ivana Bacik succeeded in taking the third seat on the Trinity panel, following the re-election of Shane Ross and David Norris. She said she intended to use the Seanad to promote a "radical social agenda", including laws permitting abortion in Ireland.

She said it was "a scandal" Ireland had no legislation allowing abortion. "I think it's a scandal in this country that we haven't had legislation on abortion and I intend to push for that."
She said she would also be using the Seanad to push for reform on criminal justice, prisoners rights, and recognition of gay marriage.

She got 16.5pc of the first preference vote, which put her behind Shane Ross (31pc) and David Norris (30pc). But it was enough, coupled with transfers to get her the third seat ahead of the nearest contender, GP Maurice Gueret (7pc).

From the Irish Eaminer
By Aine Kerr, Political Reporter

Bacik and Mullen poised to battle it out in Seanad

DEVOUT liberal Ivana Bacik and stanch conservative Ronan Mullen were last night poised to go head to head when the Seanad count resumes. Trinity College’ Dublin’s Reid professor of law Ivana Bacik was elected on the eighth count with a comfortable lead of 2,402 votes on her nearest rival Dr Maurice Gueret.

She joins sitting senators David Norris and Shane Ross who were both elected to the three-seat TCD panel on Tuesday. Last night, the newly elected senator who ran unsuccessfully in the Seanad elections in 1997 and 2002 said she looked forward to pursuing a liberal agenda.

Listing campaign issues such as recognising gay partnerships, legalising abortion and introducing improved conditions for fathers at work through paid paternity leave, she said she would use draft private members’ bills to further her causes.

Asked about the possibility of debating issues with Mr Mullen, who was edging towards the second seat on the NUI panel last night, Ms Bacik said they had already debated on several occasions and had not always “seen eye to eye”.

Late evening indications from the NUI count showed sitting senator Joe O’Toole first in the field, followed by Mr Mullen and Feargal Quinn. However, the position of Mr Mullen and Mr Quinn was being strongly challenged by sitting Senator Brendan Ryan and Valerie Bresnihan. By the 15th count, Mr Mullen had amassed 5,622 through significant transfers and was on course to unseat Labour’s sitting senator Mr Ryan.

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