Wednesday 9 October 2013

Seanad Éireann.


Ireland is sounding increasingly sensible. They voted last Friday NOT to abolish their upper house; The Senate.

It's true that it's always been an odd-ball political institution. It has no real powers; only to temporarily halt a Bill's progress. But, regardless of its ability to only fire blanks, its basic annual cost of €20 Million, is not a vast amount of money.

Maybe the strangest attribute of The Irish Senate is its method of electing members. Of the 60 members, you can only vote for 6 of them if you have a degree from one of two designated universities. Now, what could be more Irish than that!

Oh begorrah; Ireland just wouldn't be Ireland without those pesky Leprechauns making up some of the rules.


  1. I hope the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives don't get wind of that idea!

  2. Personally, I think a two-tier system is essential. The alternative is too close to dictatorship.

  3. I think I heard that the Irish had been asked to choose whether or not to abolish it but not, as many of them would have liked, an alternative - to change it, which would have meant that the issues you mention could have been addressed.

  4. Most people didn't bother voting here in Ireland. I think the referendum is a "better the devil you know" result.

  5. Having been given a steroid injection in my ankle yesterday, Cro, by an absolutely delightful Irish doctor from Galway - who could charm the birds of the trees and certainly charmed me - I am prepared to say that whatever the Irish do makes sense!

  6. In Australia, referendums very rarely get up. I think people are just more wary of change, no matter how sensible that change may be. Those good old leprechauns :)

  7. If it works for them.....

    Right now we would like together rid of everyone in our Congress.

  8. Upper Houses, the last bastion against the madness of universal suffrage.

    The right to vote should only be granted to the free born of adequate means and education and those holding the Queen's Commission willing to ride with sabres drawn down Her Majesty's highways quelling riotous assembly.

    1. I certainly think that those who fall off walls backwards should be deprived. Maybe the Irish have the right idea, but why restrict it to just SIX.

  9. Having read the contents of this blog & the comments. I feel that some elucidation is required thus: The precise composition of the Seanad was originally fixed by the constitution. However in 1979 the Seventh Amendment was adopted. This empowered the Oireachtas to extend the franchise for the election of the six university senators to the graduates of additional institutions by ordinary legislation. The intention at the time was that all third level graduates would be given the right to vote in senatorial elections but to date no such provision has yet been made.

    The most recent official report on Seanad reform was made in April 2004 by a Seanad subcommittee, and there has been speculation[who?] that it has a better chance of success than many of its predecessors. The Report on Seanad Reform recommended no changes to the powers of the Seanad; however, it recommended that the vocational panels be abolished, that twenty-six seats should be filled by direct elections, that the franchise for electing university senators should be extended to all third level graduates, and that the Taoiseach should be formally required to use his nominees to represent Northern Ireland, the diaspora and marginalised groups. It also suggested that the senate be given new functions, such as a greater role scrutinising the Government and EU legislation.

  10. Sheeeesh, and I thought U.S. politics were complicated.


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