Remember the "democratic revolution"? Seanad reform postponed!

caledhel

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It was important to retain it as having a structure in place will be useful for future improvements.

There's a disincentive to reform the Seanad by the Dail as it could act as a rival for power. That's why the move to abolish it was brought in initially - similar to the referendums to abolish PR-STV. It was rejected by the electorate as it was seen as a power grab.

It's always been important then to the Dail to have the Seanad slightly dysfunctional. It's also seen by the government as a reservoir for opposition parties to hold rivals, who lost their seats in the previous election, to compete in the next one against them.

However, it does serve as a place to raise issues and provide means to important political office outside the party system for alternate voices to be heard. To be a Senator is to hold an important public office that commands attention.

Many in the Seanad are keen to see reforms brought in that would involve greater sectional representation. I would be very supportive of this. Many complain about the superficial civic culture informing the national discourse. This could be significantly improved if we had a broader involvement by people who have practical experience in the various activities across our society and economy.

That may be derided as a corporatist view but I think that it's a valid position. There is some very good work recently done on feasible measures to better represent the country from members of the chamber. That should proceed to review.

Reform of the Seanad is one measure we could take to stop the political noise machine from closing in on itself and losing touch with reality. I'm glad it was kept.
 


saab900

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There's a disincentive to reform the Seanad by the Dail as it could act as a rival for power.
As there should be.

The Dail the State's legislature, elected under secret ballot and universal suffrage.

It shouldn't have a rival.
 

Peppermint

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It was important to retain it as having a structure in place will be useful for future improvements.

There's a disincentive to reform the Seanad by the Dail as it could act as a rival for power. That's why the move to abolish it was brought in initially - similar to the referendums to abolish PR-STV. It was rejected by the electorate as it was seen as a power grab.

It's always been important then to the Dail to have the Seanad slightly dysfunctional. It's also seen by the government as a reservoir for opposition parties to hold rivals, who lost their seats in the previous election, to compete in the next one against them.

However, it does serve as a place to raise issues and provide means to important political office outside the party system for alternate voices to be heard. To be a Senator is to hold an important public office that commands attention.

Many in the Seanad are keen to see reforms brought in that would involve greater sectional representation. I would be very supportive of this. Many complain about the superficial civic culture informing the national discourse. This could be significantly improved if we had a broader involvement by people who have practical experience in the various activities across our society and economy.

That may be derided as a corporatist view but I think that it's a valid position. There is some very good work recently done on feasible measures to better represent the country from members of the chamber. That should proceed to review.

Reform of the Seanad is one measure we could take to stop the political noise machine from closing in on itself and losing touch with reality. I'm glad it was kept.
No I'm not seeing it?
There is some very good work recently done on feasible measures to better represent the country from members of the chamber
Like what?
Good speeches mean nothing, what have they done here?
 

Peppermint

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And I still don't get a chance to elect any of them?
Though my betters who went to the right educational institutions do?
 

stakerwallace

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And I still don't get a chance to elect any of them?
Though my betters who went to the right educational institutions do?
On principle I never use my vote. The only possible motive might be to vote for someone other than that anti contraceptive, anti modernity guy Mullan
 

caledhel

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As there should be.

The Dail the State's legislature, elected under secret ballot and universal suffrage.

It shouldn't have a rival.
I agree, the Seanad shouldn't be seen as a rival to the Dail - it serves a different function - it is a different kind of assembly. In the same way as we have different organs in our body so the Seanad is different to the Dail. It doesn't have an executive function, it has a consultative one.

While not as central to our democracy as the Dail if it sickens then the body politic sickens. What we need is to get it working healthily again. Then it can be a tremendous help to the Dail and the government especially in getting intelligence on government programs and generating legitimacy with the public.

The quango system is an effort to displace it. These quangos essentially try to substitute the second chamber of the Oireachtas like an external machine taking the place of an internal organ in our democracy. While I think there's a limited role for them in certain limited circumstances it could be observed that they have taken on the character of a structure where political favours are dispensed. They also have proven very expensive.

This is a frequent criticism of the Seanad but this sort of patronage activity within the quangos is reported to be on a much larger scale and quite uncontrolled by the constitution. Should we remove a kidney because we have a dialysis machine?
 

Peppermint

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I agree, the Seanad shouldn't be seen as a rival to the Dail - it serves a different function - it is a different kind of assembly. In the same way as we have different organs in our body so the Seanad is different to the Dail. It doesn't have an executive function, it has a consultative one.

While not as central to our democracy as the Dail if it sickens then the body politic sickens. What we need is to get it working healthily again. Then it can be a tremendous help to the Dail and the government especially in getting intelligence on government programs and generating legitimacy with the public.

The quango system is an effort to displace it. These quangos essentially try to substitute the second chamber of the Oireachtas like an external machine taking the place of an internal organ in our democracy. While I think there's a limited role for them in certain limited circumstances it could be observed that they have taken on the character of a structure where political favours are dispensed. They also have proven very expensive.

This is a frequent criticism of the Seanad but this sort of patronage activity within the quangos is reported to be on a much larger scale and quite uncontrolled by the constitution. Should we remove a kidney because we have a dialysis machine?
I do believe we need a 2nd chamber, just not this one.
And I agree re the quangos. We have a quango for everything, we don't even know how many quangos we have, but chances are we set up a quango already to monitor quangos?
Me thinks we need yet another quango, to watch this one?
 

caledhel

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If you think there is something of relevance in here, point it out?

Otherwise it's about as relevant as me providing a link to war and peace
Try the executive summary at the beginning of the document.

Here's some points that I'd pick out anyway sure -

From the outset the Working Group saw three main problems with the present structure:-

- an electoral system which was elitist and which disfranchised a majority of citizens

- a constitutional concept of vocational representation which had little substance in practice

- the absence of clear defining guidelines or public understanding of Seanad Éireann’s distinctive role
in Irish political life .
---
The Working Group defined three fundamental principle which must underpinning meaningful reform:

- Popular Legitimacy - a reformed Seanad must be seen by Irish citizens as having a legitimate voice
and role in the political process,

- Adequate Powers and Functions – a reformed Seanad should have distinctive and adequate powers
and functions to make a discernable contribution to the parliamentary process

- Distinct Composition – a reformed Seanad should be distinctin its composition and its electoral
process should be designed accordingly.
---
(vii) The Working Group believes that a clear statement of the constitutional role of the Seanad as
subordinate to the Dail but with a very special and distinct role in the legislative and political
process is a proper starting point for a redefinition of the role and contribution of the Seanad (pg
20).
---
(ix) The Working Group also recommends that the Seanad give particular attention to:
-Give consideration to North-South Ministerial Council proposals
-Give consideration to Secondary Legislation of the EU
-Consult with relevant bodies prior to and during Second Stage debate
-Investigate and report on matters of public policy interest
-Consider reports from regulators and other statutory inspectors (pgs 22-24).
---
(vi) the Working Group recommends:
That 36 of the 60 seats be directly elected from five vocational panels and from the university
constituency .
That 13 of the 60 seats be indirectly elected from an electoral college of all elected county and city
councillors, TDs and outgoing Senators (pg 30).
---
(vii) The Working Group is of the view that the concept of vocational representation be retained but
modernised. It recommends legislative change with a view to ensuring access to nomination for
as a wide a range of candidates as is necessary to reflect the complexity and diversity of modern
Irish society.
 

Peppermint

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Try the executive summary at the beginning of the document.

Here's some points that I'd pick out anyway sure -
Yep they are some very nice words!
But what have these lovely words achieved?

Give me reason to keep the senate?
This is nice on aspiration, lacking on actual action?
 

caledhel

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Yep they are some very nice words!
But what have these lovely words achieved?

Give me reason to keep the senate?
This is nice on aspiration, lacking on actual action?
Any action is dependent on the Dail.

These are not just words. What they do is give us a way of thinking about why we need the Seanad, what it should be doing, how we get that achieved etc. It means that the problem isn't murky and confused. It enables further action.

I think that it's good work and reflects the quality of our Senators in the Seanad. It needs to proceed to the next stage. The thread is about the postponement of this process until after the next election.
 
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Peppermint

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The action on it is dependent on the Dail.

These are not just words. What they do is give us a way of thinking about why we need the Dail, what it should be doing, how we get that achieved etc. It means that the problem isn't murky and confused. It enables further action.

I think that it's good work and reflects the quality of our Senators in the Seanad. It needs to proceed to the next stage. The thread is about the postponement of this process until after the next election.
I'm not sure I'm following your argument? It sounds like you think you've heard some argument, the argument didn't make any sense, but you went with it anyway...
 

caledhel

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I'm not sure I'm following your argument? It sounds like you think you've heard some argument, the argument didn't make any sense, but you went with it anyway...
I'm sorry if it's difficult to follow. It's a bit late so my grammar may be a bit unruly.

Basically when you look at a problem it a good thing to ask the 5 Ws - Who, What, Where, Why and How. This is what the report does. It's an important part of the process. From this it is normal to proceed to action.
 

Peppermint

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I'm sorry if it's difficult to follow. It's a bit late so my grammar may be a bit unruly.

Basically when you look at a problem it a good thing to ask the 5 Ws - Who, What, Where, Why and How. This is what the report does. It's an important part of the process. From this it is normal to proceed to action.
 

Mercurial

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I disagree, sometimes it's easier to start from scratch.
We could have dumped this care home and built a proper 2nd chamber.

But you won, you can now show me how easy it is to reform this monstrosity that exists?
I don't think it's plausible to suggest that in this case, it would be more politically feasible to abolish the Seanad and then establish a new upper house, than it would be to reform the one that already exists.
 

Mercurial

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It does actually. Referendums are binary by definition.

1. Change the Constitution
2. Don't
The options are:

1. Approve the amendment.
2. Reject the amendment.

To reject a particular amendment is not to imply approval for the status quo. It is (at most) to prefer the status quo over the specific amendment in question.

This isn't a complicated point, and it's perfectly easy to see why rejecting an amendment doesn't entail approval of the status quo: the fact that someone votes not to abolish the senate does not imply they are happy with the status quo.
 

Peppermint

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I'm not familiar with the 5Ws, maybe it's a new thing I'm to old for?
Or maybe it's an old thing I'm to young for?

But apply your 5Ws to the senate..

Who.... Who are they? Other than Norris, 99% of the population wouldn't know an over paid senator if the were in front of them.

What... What does the senate do?

Where.. Where do they represent? I, like most people in the country, can't vote for them. But certain arbitrarily decided people can?

Why... Why is this excuse for a 2nd chamber allowed to exist? It's elitist in its structure. Would you be prepared to accept a 2nd chamber elected by Irish travelers only?

And HOW.... How indeed.. how were the Irish public conned into believing the senate, as it stands, is a good thing?
 

caledhel

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Peppermint, what do you make of the points quoted from the report? Is there anything that you'd like added, changed or removed?
 


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