Fine Gael launches its online campaign for a Yes vote to abolish the Seanad

13th September, 2013

Microsite and Facebook hub makes it easy to share facts on why to vote Yes

Fine Gael’s Director of Elections, Minister Richard Bruton TD, has today (Friday) launched the Party’s online campaign for a Yes vote in the Seanad Abolition Referendum, which includes a new microsite and a Facebook hub, which highlight key facts about the Seanad and make it easy to share information online about why you should vote Yes on October 4th.

 The online campaign has been developed in collaboration with Fine Gael’s digital partners Webfactory. Minister Bruton was joined by Deputy Director of Elections, Regina Doherty TD, and Social Media Co-ordinator, Eoghan Murphy TD, at Webfactory’s Dublin office to launch the Party’s online campaign.

 The online campaign includes a number of elements:

· A dedicated microsite aimed at increasing awareness about the undemocratic and powerless nature of the Seanad, with interactive tools and multiple options to encourage sharing online

· A multimedia hub on Facebook that will be updated throughout the course of the campaign

· At least one video a day during the course of the campaign which will address emerging issues and provide information on why to vote Yes

· A targeted online ad campaign focussing on key messages

Speaking at the online launch at Webfactory, Dublin 1, Minister Bruton said: ‘We want to use as many platforms as possible to communicate our reasons to vote Yes to abolish the Seanad on October 4th. Our new campaign microsite contains clear and digestible facts about why the time has come to abolish the Seanad, including:

· Abolishing the Seanad would generate €20million in savings every year – which, for example, could pay for 350 primary teachers

· Only 1% of the population elect the Seanad
· Ireland is the only country in Europe of our size with two chambers of parliament
· Ten reports have been published on Seanad reform and no significant reform has even been implemented’.

“The facts are overwhelmingly on the Yes side and our campaign is aimed at ensuring that as many people as possible have access to information about what the Seanad actually does and the strong reasons to vote Yes.

 “Our online strategy is focussed on making it as easy as possible to share information about the Seanad Referendum. Through interactive tools we want to promote awareness and engagement on the key issues. For example, how many people know that only 1% of the population votes for the Seanad? How many people know that the Seanad cannot block but can only delay legislation – and hasn’t even done this since 1964? With each message we are giving people the chance to share the information on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. This will help to spark conversation and debate.”

Deputy Director of Elections, Regina Doherty TD, said: ‘Fine Gael is determined to have a strong online presence during this campaign. From my own experience I know that much of the debate is taking place online, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter, or a range of other platforms. Our Facebook hub and our microsite will provide nuggets of information and updates about the Seanad and the case for its abolition’.

 Social Media Co-ordinator for the campaign, Eoghan Murphy TD, said: ‘We are very keen to reach out to voters who are active users of social media, in a bid to encourage them to share and discuss information on the Seanad. That’s why our microsite and our Facebook hub are designed to make it as easy as possible to share facts and information online’.

 “The more people that know about the Seanad, the more they agree that it is time to finally abolish our second chamber of parliament, which simply duplicates the work of the Dáil. I am confident that our online campaign will help to generate debate on our political system and the need for fundamental change. And by using online tools to allow sharing between friends and colleagues, we can ensure as many people as possible are encouraged to get out and vote Yes on October 4th.”