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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seanad Reform - After 30 years can we have our votes now?

It has been 12 months since this announcement and we've seen no action taken to advance the reform of the Seanad. In particular the rather straightforward reform of the university panels to give effect to the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution.

I've recently written to the 6 university panel senators asking that they do rather than talk when it comes to this matter. I'm currently awaiting their responses, and will post the letter and responses if I receive them. In the continued absence of any movement I've decided to try and get some traction via other means. Hence this facebook group

Seanad Reform - After 30 years can we have our votes now? | Facebook

I also hope to be announcing in the new year some events as part of a rolling campaign to culminate in the period of the 5th of July when the referendum was held 3 decades ago and the 5th of August when it was signed into law.

Is wider reform of the Seanad needed? Yes, in fact it is long overdue but this is the necessary first step in that process.
Are there more important things? Indeed, but we have a parliamentary and cabinet system of government so that more than one problem can be tackled at any one time.

4 comments:

Bock the Robber said...

I presume you'll be backing Martin Collins's call for a Travellers seat in the Senate as well.

Dan Sullivan said...

Bock, I've got a number of ideas of what to do with the rest of the Seanad, which I will be only too happy to share. I think I may have gone over them here before but I'll need to dig them out.

simon said...

the senate should be at least general vote or indeed got rid of all together

Dan Sullivan said...

I believe that we should all have a vote, but just the one vote and it should be for the panel of our choice. And the seats should then be allocated for the panels in proportion to the numbers that actually vote for that panel. Those elections should be on the same days as the Dail to prevent the Seanad being a bolt hole for TDs who lose out in the general election.

The whole point of the Seanad in my view is to facilitate a different form of representation in politics by reducing the strong geographic bias that the Dail constituencies foster.

But again, those changes require changes to the constitution which will take considerably more time than simply legislating for the university seats. Which could be done in a few days work.

I genuinely believe that if the universities panel was sorted out that there would be an impetus to do the rest. The view at the moment seems to be that until there is a consensus agreement on overall reform that the university panels shouldn't be touched.