Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Six things to consider about Seanad Reform.

Posted by Jason O on Feb 5, 2013 in Irish Politics |

1. The vast majority of Seanad reformers quite fancy being senators. I don’t blame them, so do I. But let’s be honest about it.

2. Most of the stuff about parliamentary scrutiny is twaddle. How many times has the Seanad ever fought the government?

3. If the Seanad is so good, why is it that no party leader since Garrett has deemed a single one of his senators worthy of being a cabinet minister? Not one! It means that abolition, for the most part, will only remove politicians of a secondary calibre, as decided by the party leaders themselves.

4. The 2004 reforms, which were stalled by the same people who now regard them as vital, were a great idea. In 2004. Now, they’re just a last throw of the dice.

5. Many “reformers” seem to want to take abolition off the table, THEN discuss reform. What’s the likelihood that those discussions will run for decades? Let’s see detailed reforms voted through the House and Seanad first, then we can vote on abolition. 

6. The biggest reform does not require a referendum. Just pass a law to allow each Dail elector to be a Seanad elector to an appropriate panel as in article 18.7 of the constitution. Let each citizen choose which panel they wish to affiliate to, and overnight we will have a directly elected vocational Seanad, wiping out the councillor electorate. Pass a law to do this, and open up the nominating process, and I’ll vote to retain.

 

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