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Is it time to abolish the Seanad?


Is it time to abolish the Seanad?

  • Yes

    Votes: 58 65.2%
  • No

    Votes: 31 34.8%

  • Total voters
    89
  • Poll closed .
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
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davidcochrane
On 5th July 1979 the people voted to extend the franchise (vote) for Seanad seats to all graduates of universities in Ireland, not just the NUI and Trinity college.

The Seventh Amendment of the Constitution (Election of Members of Seanad Éireann by Institutions of Higher Education) Bill, 1979, proposes the election by universities and other institutions of higher education specified by law of such number of members of Seanad Éireann, not exceeding 6, as may be specified by law. Those so elected would be in substitution for an equal number of the members elected at present (3 each) by the National University of Ireland and the University of Dublin. The Bill also proposes that nothing in Article 18 of the Constitution shall prohibit the dissolution by law of those Universities.
The result was that 552,600 were in favour of the motion, and 45,484. So it was 92.4% in favour, 7.6% against.

Successive governments, including those made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, PDs (and most recently the Greens) have ignored that vote, and still to this day, the referendum decision 30 years ago has been ignored. Recent mutterings about Seanad reform have been nothing but that.

There are three vacancies in the Seanad presently, two as a result of the deaths of FF Senators Tony Kett and Peter Callan, and the other a result of the election of Alan Kelly to the European Parliament. Vacancies in the Seanad are voted by Oireachtas members, so the current Oireachtas members will select those two. (Incidentally, my money is on Niall O'Brolchoin to get one of those seats - with FF taking the others in a FF/GP voting pact).

A poll for Saturday (which will be understood in greater context later I promise) - is the Seanad relevant, and if it isn't, should it be abolished?
 
Last edited:


Katayusha

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Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
52
What is the point of the Seanad, does it have any real and useful purpose or is it more of an expensive irrelevance>
 
B

birthday

All very interesting but we really must save our economy first.
The university panel is an anachronism. How this has been allowed continue is anyones guess.
Would Bacik, Ross or Norris ever get elected by any other route?
 

Catalpa

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Jun 10, 2004
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10,301
It should be reformed not abolished.

It should be based on Universal Suffrage of all Citizens not just selected groups of mostly privileged people.

STV would be useful option too.

Perhaps regionally based & incl. voters in the North who wish to participate would be a good idea IMO.

That way we would have a democratically elected platform much more open and accountable than today's Ivory Tower.
 

donalmc

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Sep 10, 2009
Messages
26
My main beef with the Seanad would be that it appears to be a dumping ground for failed or aspiring TDs. I would keep it and introduce a rule that there must be at least a five year gap before you can sit in one house if you have sat in the other previously.
 

WTTR

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What is the point of the Seanad, does it have any real and useful purpose or is it more of an expensive irrelevance>
A political forum where ideas other than what suits a secular state could be raised would have saved the country from its present financial predicament. This is not just hindsight!

Do the government not realise the gravity of the international situation now facing us? We will be caught in the dangerous eddy as the great Western Economies go into rapid decline, caused by the hidden power of demographics and not any highly visible terrorist deed. The hole that Leinster House is digging is getting deeper and the further down they go, the less opportunity for movement. A former leader had much firmer foundations to stand on, when he resisted international pressure. Leinster House now, more than ever for the sake of our future, our young workforce, badly need a stabilising influence.

Cardinal Connell or somebody like him could supply the missing cord that would bind the Irish Cabinet and turn it into one of the most informed Government legislation bodies in the Western World! There definitely should be a representative of the archbishop’s house at the Cabinet Table or at least in the Oireachtas.

Ironically it seems to be one of the only customs that we failed to inherit from the British Parliamentary system, where a number of seats in their Upper House in Westminster are the preserve of Church of England bishops. Britain was able to hold onto their population and grow it; but obviously the bishops are loosing the battle over the latter half of the 20th century; they also could do with a strong man like our Cardinal.

The future alternative is to live in a world of CHAOS! Listen! The politicians on Capital Hill called for restrained and no panic selling on the opening of Wall St. after the Sept. 11th. (Read the story of the Mayoman living in New York who also witnessed the events of the 1929 collapse, see MAYO PROFILE – Patrick Boyle by Enda Brogan in this book). What happened! Investment and finance went galloping away faster than the Lone Ranger ever did and got to hell out of there! Wall Street had the biggest collapse for a long time. Demographics of the Western World are all wrong to withstand such a shock! Message: Finance and one particular country are not inextricably linked. Don’t build your future on wealth alone. The real wealth of a country is in its children and how well they are looked after. Discount the wealth of a childless Nation, you get ZERO value! ceteris paribus. Not writing here about individual family units, but from the Macro end of things. Money and investment will eventually flee a country whose birth rate continues to fall; this is only pure logic, but maybe not to those people who are living above their station! i.e. lacking pure handed down foundation principles of life (Christian, Islamic or whatever)! Taken from Mayo Association Yearbook 2002
 

davehiggz

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May 7, 2009
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Don't Banish it!

We never would have had the FÁS scandals had it not been for Senator Shane Ross. He started it off by uncovering Mary Harney's $400 hair cut.

We all know what a huge contribution David Norris has given to the Seanad.

Also let's not forget that the Taoiseach's nominations is a system whereby any ordinary person can be made a minister. It's a mechanism whereby we would have a decent minister for finance or health for example without them having to please the political system.

I agree that failed politicians do end up in the Seanad however I see far more young aspiring TD's in there than I do old ones. From all sides there are enthusiastic people in the Seanad who will one day hold a seat in the Dáil and the Seanad is a good opportunity to give them a head start and let the public judge them before they go on to the lower house.

The five panels are a great way of getting expertise into politics and this should be reformed not banished.

FG has proposed Seanad reform with the simple measure of electing many senators from the 5 Euro constituencies. This is a very simple measure and it's one of many which would reform the Seanad into a more democratic and more functional house.
 

Clare Herbert

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Interesting debate. I don't think it should be abolished but agree that it needs serious reform. I think Ross, Bacik and Norris are great Senators and add hugely to the debate, but perhaps would not be elected by the broader electorate. We've been talking about Senate reform for years, and it's getting increasingly urgent. I like FG's proposal but think we could do better.
 

DaveMc

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Jan 31, 2009
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860
FG and LAB don’t want appointments (elections) to the ‘Upper House’ now because it would be voted on by the Dail, thus ensuring a FF elected member(s).

Ross and Norris et al should stand for National politics (TD’s) leaving the brain dead morons such as De Burca (GP) and Buttimer (FG) to stew in their own ****************************************e!

Abolish this joke of a ‘body’.
 

Foghorn

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Sep 18, 2009
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384
I don't think it should be abolished but it should be reformed to be more oppositional to the Dail. Is should challenge the decisions of TDs, their policies and have greater oversight. Too many of the bodies we have in Ireland exist without any real power.

I would make it much more adversarial. Gve it greater oversight. it should not be a subs-bench for Tds that didn't get in last time.
 

brughahaha

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My main beef with the Seanad would be that it appears to be a dumping ground for failed or aspiring TDs. I would keep it and introduce a rule that there must be at least a five year gap before you can sit in one house if you have sat in the other previously.
Thats why its redundant, it used to be but now failed or seatless politicians go to brussels and the european parliament
 

bn

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May 2, 2007
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There are two vacancies in the Seanad presently, once as a result of the death of FF Senator Tony Kett, and the other a result of the election of Alan Kelly to the European Parliament.

Vacancies in the Seanad are voted by Oireachtas members, so the current Oireachtas members will select those two. (Incidentally, my money is on Niall O'Brolchoin to get one of those seats - with FF taking the other in a FF/GP voting pact).
There are currently 3 vacancies with the death of Senator Peter Callanan
 

SPQR

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Joined
Mar 30, 2007
Messages
77
Maybe allow the national electorate to elect senators using a list system, this would allow parties to select people who have a contribution to make to be heard, who might otherwise not be interested in getting elected through the "normal" electoral process (getting street lights fixed and other important tasks).

Otherwise dump it as it is pretty useless at the moment.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
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Yes It should be abolished. Its just used as a creche for future TD's and a retirement home for former TD's.
 

wombat

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Jun 16, 2007
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What is the point of the Seanad, does it have any real and useful purpose or is it more of an expensive irrelevance>
It is a place of rest for councillors on their way to the Dáil or ex TD's on their way back or or out of politics. It also gives a platform to pompous bores from the universites, always including a prominent member of the INTO. As far as taxpayers are concerned, its another trough which we have to keep topped up.
 

liamfoley

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Jun 27, 2008
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The Seanad is very relevant. I remember a certain former taoiseach saying that soem of the most interesting debates he ever attended were in the Seanad. The fact that they were not always using the bean counters. Some points though. No politicizing i.e., certainly NO failed Dail candidates. The original idea that it be a chamber of experts, nominated for their expertise for and by different panels.
 

liamfoley

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Why do you think they will get the Axe this December?
Axing or even radically changing the Seanad would require a change in the Constitution.
 

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