Senate Abolition?

Phil Hogan brought forward a New Politics policy – abolition of the Seanad – was one move and suggestions about reducing the number of TDs and adding a list system to the national vote.

I think that there should be reform of the Seanad role and usage. European Laws and EU directives are an obvious starting point. The election system of councillors and TDs plus university seats should be abandoned. The 1930s corporate state is no more and its entrails should be abandoned. In that recognition, Enda Kenny is correct. If Shane Ross, Joe O’Toole, David Norris and company want to stay involved in Parliament, let them stand for election under a new system. I think that the Seanad should be elected on a list system proportioned on the outcome of the popular vote. Registered parties should be recognised as the template and the independent vote should be also included. The only way I can think of doing this fairly is to elect to the Seanad an independent (s) who fail(s) in a Dail constituency but who has/have the highest proportion of a quota. Dail seats should be based on same size constituencies based on population not on the current system.

I find it amazing that Senators voted for Christmas in the FG Parliamentary Party vote after the Presidential Dinner address by Enda Kenny in Citywest. Imagine asking Senator Frances Fitzgerald why she is in the Seanad if she wants it abolished every time she showed up to lead Fine Gael? Imagine the fun to be had!

The Committee System should be developed and be involved in investigations by the Committee on Public Accounts and Health etc should be more probing and have additional powers of compellability of witnesses. There should be privilege and a perjury law with appropriate sanctions. You need a decent number of parliamentarians to have a reasonable spread of talent for government and opposition.

The quality of many senators is clear to see and hear on Oireachtas report and other media broadcasts. Frances FitzGerald is worth her place even if she wants her role abolished. I think she does a public good but I am a stickler for intellectual rigour etc. Paschal Donohue is also good value as is O’Brolchain from Galway. David Norris, Fergal Quinn, Joe ATM O’Toole, Shane Ross and Ronan Mullen are also good. We should have an automatic seat by legislation for certain members of the Northern assembly, – First Minister, Deputy First ministers and a small number of other ministers based on a version of power sharing. the power to block legislation should be very limited and a slow down is all that should be allowed but the power to send amendments to the Dail should be retained.

Answer No! to abolition
Yes! to reform now.