Irish Independent: Letter to the Editor on Seanad Retention

The following is a letter to the editor from today’s Irish Independent:

KEEP THE SEANAD

* We have too many politicians, “it” has no real power and we’re spending money we don’t have facing into a hard budget. That sums up the Yes side in the Seanad abolition campaign.

On further inspection, it’s worth noting more than 500 amendments to legislation suggested by the Seanad have been accepted by this Government to date. Who will suggest these amendments if the Seanad is abolished?

The last official report on Seanad reform recommended that the vocational panels be abolished, 26 seats be filled by direct elections, the franchise for electing university senators be extended to all third-level graduates, and the Taoiseach be formally required to use his nominees to represent Northern Ireland, the diaspora and marginalised groups.

It also suggested that the Seanad be given new functions, such as a greater role scrutinising the government and EU legislation. These reform measures are the gift of the members of Dail Eireann.

As for savings, won’t monies in reality be diverted to the Dail and its committees?

On October 4, we will also be asked to create a new Court of Civil Appeal. The lack of debate and discussion on this proposal is a cause for concern, with just four weeks until polling day.

Roisin Lawless

Co Meath

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