Haste and fast tracking are best reasons NOT to abolish Seanad Eireann

Great piece in the Irish Times today, from Philip Pettit of Princeton University why the the proposal to abolish the Seanad is the wrong way to go:

The need to put legislation through a second house ensures against the danger of fast-tracking inadequately considered laws.

The existence of a second house creates a base for dissident voices to be heard in the community, guarding against majority complacency.

And the requirement for the second house to agree on the dismissal of constitutionally established authorities like the Auditor General offers an important guarantee of their independence.

He concludes that the move to ambition is ill-calculated:

All parties are committed to the idea that Ireland is a republic, in the long and fine tradition of constitutional republicanism. A centrepiece of that tradition, which ultimately goes back to republican Rome, is that the people should rule themselves via the interaction of distinct assemblies and authorities, not via any single representative, individual or corporate.

In seeking the abolition of the Seanad, the Government is not only putting good politics before good government. It is failing to keep faith with the commitment to the multicentred form of popular sovereignty to which our republican tradition binds us.

But really, you should read the whole masterly thing

PS, if you want the government case at the time FG announced it (when they were in Opposition)< watch my interview with Brian Hayes on YouTube

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty