“Damn! There goes my Dail seat! To the Seanad!”
There’s been a lot of talk of “checks and balances” and “scrutinising legislation” from the Save The Seanad crowd. Let’s be clear about one thing: the Seanad exists first and foremost to provide an emergency back up job for failed TDs.
Don’t believe me? Look at the structure:
1. Seanad elections are not held on the same day as the Dail elections? Why? To give failed TDs 3 months to campaign for a Seanad seat.
2. The Seanad is elected mostly by county councillors? Why? Because real voters have already voted down the candidates. Why do you think that scandal over senators taxpayer funded free post erupted? Because councillors were getting free envelopes from someone. I wonder why?
3. Within the Seanad election, 16 out of 43 senators are reserved for candidates nominated by Oireachtas members, EVEN IF THEY GET LESS VOTES.
4. Even if those three helping hands aren’t enough, there’s always appointment by the Taoiseach.
The Seanad: the most expensive parachute in democratic history.