Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…

Wed 8 May 2013, 11:43am

In his op ed in the Irish Times recently, Conor Brady noted:

It is limiting and dangerous to have a single, received orthodoxy when there is fear and suffering all about. Yet ironically, as one part of the Oireachtas (the presidency) finds its voice, another (the Seanad) may be about to be silenced permanently.

It’s a theme I’ve tried to amplify in an audioboo I recorded last night, not least regarding the abiding lack of plurality in the Irish governmental system:

As luck would have it, I was at the BIPA in Swansea the day after Enda Kenny announced abolition as party policy. I spoke first to Senator Terry Leyden of Fianna Fail who spoke in favour of retaining it:

And then to Brian Hayes who had co-chaired the last report proposing reform of the Irish Upper House:

Hayes notes that there have been something like 16 or 17 separate reports on reform of the Seanad and that NONE of them have been acted upon. Some changes (like the extension of the university graduate franchise in 1979) have had approval by referendum and still have not made it into law.

Brady’s arguments are on one level unanswerable. But on another, so is Hayes’ that over the longer term, the Irish executive has tended to ignore recommendations for parliamentary reform, often on the pretext that it is pre-occupied with more pressing affairs.

Favouring the urgent over the important is a universal human failing. So too is the fear that in bolstering parliament you also hamper the executive’s freedom to act.

And, as I point out in the boo, the ordering of abolition of the Seanad before its reform means that were it retained, the precise questions of its reform will lie outside the remit of the constitutional convention.

Interesting times ahead… For more, follow @SeanadReform on Twitter…

Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Delicious Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Digg Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Facebook Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Google+ Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on LinkedIn Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Pinterest Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on reddit Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on StumbleUpon Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Twitter Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Add to Bookmarks Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Email Share 'Referendum proposing the abolition of the Seanad just weeks away…' on Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
27 queries. 0.354 seconds.