Irish reject plan to scrap Senate

AFP-JIJI

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny vowed to push forward with reform of the upper house of parliament after voters rejected his plan to abolish the Senate to save the bailed-out nation money.

In a surprise blow for Kenny after he personally led the campaign to ditch the Senate, voters in a referendum on Friday narrowly opted to keep the 60-member house, according to results announced late Saturday.

The prime minister had described the upper house as elitist and undemocratic, saying its closure could save the nation €20 million ($27 million) a year. Opponents said the Senate, which was created in 1937, should be reformed instead of abolished.