Now that we the Irish people have vetoed the Government’s attempt to abolish the Seanad, you can ask the Constitutional Convention to call for reform of the Seanad to make it a democratic, accountable and effective part of our Parliament.
The Convention is coming near the end of its term. It was asked to discuss certain specific issues. Following completion of these topics, the Convention may make other recommendations as it sees fit.
After the referendum result, one obvious other item is now Reform of the Seanad. Please ask the Convention to add this item to its agenda.
Just write your proposal in a text file or a pdf, then go to the Convention website and you can easily upload your proposal.
You don’t have to go into great detail about the exact type of reform that you want. The important thing is to let the Convention know that you want it to add this topic onto its agenda. The details can be teased out later.
If you do want to add details to your submission, here are some ideas that I have included in my own submission:
- Reduce the number of Senators, and give them better research and other resources to do their jobs effectively.
- Have the people directly elect Senators, either in one National Constituency and/or Constituencies similar to the European Elections.
- End the practice of the Taoiseach personally appointing some Senators.
- Consider having some Senators elected by Irish citizens living abroad.
- Consider having term limits for Senators.
- Have Dail and Seanad elections on the same day, and only allow candidates to run for one, to stop failed Dail candidates immediately becoming Senators.
- Ban Senators from running for the Dail in the next election, to prevent parties using the Seanad as a profile-building platform for new TDs.
- Ban TDs from running for the Seanad in the next election, to prevent parties using the Seanad as a retirement home for ex-TDs.
However, at this stage, the details are not important. What is important is letting the Convention know that you want it to add this important item to its agenda. The Convention can then take its own advice from experts and members of the public as to what reform it chooses to suggest.
So take a few minutes to make a short submission, and help to build momentum for real reform of the Seanad.