Seanad Éireann lives on – Irish government proposals defeated by 51.7% to 48.3%

Common sense has prevailed and the magician’s diversionary trick of proposing to remove the Seanad Éireann has been voted down by a tiny majority.

The Fine Gael Labour coalition government proposal was supported by Sinn Féin and was lost by a narrow margin, with 48.3% voting in favour of abolition, with 51.7% against.

Any guesses to how long we’ll wait before meaningful reforms of the Seanad will be put in place?

  • JoeHas

    Great result on an issue I felt very strongly about (but had no say in the outcome). The governing parties were banking on people voting for ‘a plague on all your houses’; hoping to use Seanad abolition to lance the boil that is voter mistrust of politicians. No doubt that serious reform is needed, but I am happy with a bicameral system and ‘technocratic’ oversight of overpowered Executive bodies. What I wouldn’t give to swap a half dozen NI Councils for an objective, qualified and knowledgeable Senate in Stormont…

  • crockaleen

    Hopefully not as long as we’ve been waiting for the legislation to allow graduates of every university/HEI to vote in Seanad elections. I make that 34 years and counting…

  • Charles_Gould

    Very stupid decision by the people of the south.

    Elitist, outmoded. Embarrassing university suffrage.

  • Mick Fealty

    Charles, I’m surprised at you!! (next time, try hashtag #sarcasism)…

  • Big Maggie

    What a disaster! Next you know, they’ll be agitating to restore the monarchy.

    Come to think of it, that Brian Boru geezer wasn’t half bad. Isn’t he the one who introduced tax breaks for bards and seanchai?

  • Some detail and analysis in the Irish Times.

    There is a swathe of red (No) on the eastern seaboard and in Dublin, where every single constituency voted against the proposition. When you move outside the capital there is a sea of green sweeping down the western seaboard, all voting Yes with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

    There are outliers of course. The two Donegal constituencies have bucked the trend in every referendum over the past decade and voted No.

    So some constituencies with big urban areas — Galway West, Cork South Central, and Waterford — as well as Cork North West, which takes in the built-up Ballincollig area. It suggests what can be roughly described as an urban-rural divide in sentiment among the population.

  • Charles_Gould

    It suggests that people with degrees (and hence Seanad votes) in Dublin voted to preserve their unfair privilege.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hello Big Maggie

    “What a disaster! Next you know, they’ll be agitating to restore the monarchy.”

    That would be the O’Neill, Lisbon, then:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Ricciardi_O%27Neill

    rather than the German family at Windsor? Or Francis II?:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz,_Duke_of_Bavaria

    At least we wouldn’t have to pay 166 TDs to sell us out to the bankers. Although I’m secretly pleased that the Seanadóirí are surviving the proposed “massacre”. Now all we have to do is limit them all to pure legislation (or comment) and take any overt or covert powers of patronage away.

    And Charles_Gould, to get rid of the structural “unfair advantage” you’d have to (like UBU in the play) de-brain or at least lobotomise the offending graduates. That’d even things out a bit…..

  • Big Maggie

    Lovely link to your namesake, Seaan!

    But I was thinking more along Charles Gould’s lines. The poll result suggests to me that the Dublin area has more than its fair share of Plastic Brits — maybe even more than the Plastic Brits up here in the North.

    Seems to me betimes that they (the jackeens) would like nothing better than to redub the Seanad the House of Lords and have all their mates vying to be “elevated” like their British counterparts.

    I’ve a simpler and less expensive solution for them. You can actually buy yourself a tiny wee plot of land in Scotland and give yourself out as Lord or Lady. Fact. http://www.highlandtitles.com/

  • Reader

    Big Maggie: I’ve a simpler and less expensive solution for them. You can actually buy yourself a tiny wee plot of land in Scotland and give yourself out as Lord or Lady. Fact.
    Though it won’t get you into the House of Lords, of course, nor the Seanad.
    Probably your best chance to get into the Dáil or Seanad is to be related to someone who has already been there, and therefore receive patronage or inherit a party fiefdom.

  • tuatha

    A unicameral Parliament is always prone to autocracy so I’m glad that the Seanad survives. However, it should be elected by simple d’Ondt/Hare-Clark proportional representation, with the nation as a sngle electorate.

  • Cavan-Monaghan voted for abolition of the Seanad whilst Louth voted against. What do commenters make of that?

  • DC

    “What I wouldn’t give to swap a half dozen NI Councils for an objective, qualified and knowledgeable Senate in Stormont”

    stormont used to have a senate, might be a good idea if giving more powers to councils to bring them up to stormont every once in a while to regionalise them and help with integration and joined up local government thinking stuff, you know share experience. this might help with the vision thing and experience which at times is lacking locally in certain councils. maybe they – the powers that be – do that already i.e. bring all the councils together every 6 months or year to discuss work, useful for fighting fraud as well??

  • Newman

    There is an arrogance and hauteur with Fine Gael that was highlighted by their preventing a free vote on the recent abortion bill. This was a power grab which would not have saved 20m and resulted in a more centralised democracy. No wonder Sinn Fein supported the proposal. Interesting that Lucinda Creighton’s constituency gave the most resounding no vote. For hubris alone the government deserved a major bloody nose..glad they got it.

  • aquifer

    Maybe the people noticed that it was not the Seanad that threw the country to the Bundesbank.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    BigMaggie, “Seems to me betimes that they (the jackeens) would like nothing better than to redub the Seanad the House of Lords and have all their mates vying to be “elevated” like their British counterparts.” I’d really have to agree.

    I remember my uncle standing in the Donegal Gaeltacht looking at the holiday cottages:

    “The Pale has almost reached the sea…..”

    But then I’m always worried about “Representatives” of any sort who have no one at all looking over their shoulder. Somehow they begin to think that they have been given a mandate for anything that originates in the sawdust between their ears. But I agree, we’d need a very different Seanad……

  • Greenflag

    @ Neviin,

    “Cavan-Monaghan voted for abolition of the Seanad whilst Louth voted against. What do commenters make of that?”

    I would’nt read too much into the differences between the counties .Louth could be described as more urban than Cavan/Monaghan .

    Dubliners and those in counties around the capital voted NO .Perhaps there was memory that sometime in the past Dublin lost it’s Parliament (1800 Act of Union ) and the City and country suffered considerably as a result .

    A control or check on the Dail is not a bad thing in itself but the first job is a thorough reform of how the Senate is elected and how various interests are accommodated in modern day ROI.

  • Greenflag

    “Maybe the people noticed that it was not the Seanad that threw the country to the Bundesbank.”

    They may also have noticed that despite Mr Kenny’s laudable concern to reduce the overhead costs of running whats left of our democracy the members of the Dail are still paid considerably more than their British or German counterparts .

    What excuse have they got for that ?

    Perhaps Mr Kenny should have another referendum giving the voters a choice of reducing TD’s salaries by a) 10% , b) 20% or c) 30% or paying them based on economic performance and tying the figure into the unemployment rate ? I

    “There is an arrogance and hauteur with Fine Gael ”

    I believe it was the Daily Mail in the 1930’s which ran the headline ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts ‘ . Oswald Mosley had many friends in Ireland at that time in particular among the FG crowd .

    The Irish Blueshirts were of course lauded by the Catholic Bishops and the Irish conservative press of the time .

    And they’re still there some of the Blueshirt element even if they have had to tone it down a notch or two . Now and again of course the face is bared and the hauteur /arrogance is seen by all .