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 A Seanad for the 21st Century

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PostSubject: Re: A Seanad for the 21st Century   Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:08 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Well I was talking about it from the point of view of Taoiseach nominees, which would be inherently unelected.

I like the fact that an Taoiseach can appoint a certain number of Senators to Seanad Éireann. It means that he/she can indeed appoint the likes of Gerry Robinson to subsequently become a Cabinet minister. It means that an Taoiseach can bring fresh experience from outside into the political and legislative process. It also means an Taoiseach can bring in people not beholden to the party hierarchy who can go about a job in a largely apolitical fashion. It is an unexercised jewel in the crown of Bunreacht na hÉireann. We could've had some Ministers as a result of Taoiseachúil appointments.


It should be done again. David Norris would make a great Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism, Shane Ross would do well as Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Dan Boyle could be junior Minister for Transport and so on.


yes its been usd before but usually the Taoiseach's nominees are a consolation prize for wannabee TDs who wer loyal to then Taoiseach. The system of appointments is all wrong because it ensures a majority for the Government which defeats the purpose of having two houses to examine bills. The Seanad is turned into a tsalk shop which is a shame because there are some high quality Senators there who really do have good intentions and are trying tpo fix the system. David Norris is a great example of this.

the idea of making it like the US system while having some merit would merely serve to exacerbate the ale brokerage that already exists in Irish politics. Politicians put the constituency above the natonal interest at evry juncture. In the long run what is good for the whole country should be good for all constituencies. Unfortunately the reverse doesn't follow, whats good for the Minister for Edcucation (when it comes to school buildings programmes0 or the Minister of the Gaeltacht (when it comes to grant funding) is not necessarily good for ewveryone else at all.

The University Senators do great work, why not simply give some of those Taoiseachs nominees up and extend the university panel so that others could be represented. While it may seem that the university Senators are undemocratic, the point was forcefully made by Senator Norris earlier this year that they have a much larger electoral base than any of the other Senators, and that makes them actually more democratic as they are elected by more people (potentially). I do have a problem with non nationals voting in Seanad elections and this could definitely be changed. It is important that our representatives, serving in our parliament (ie the Irish pariament) are not hi jacked by foreign interests due to their constituency base.

There may be cause to elect half (or one third) of the Seanad by direct election, perhaps like the MEPs are elected, and have some other seats seta aside for panels, like the universities, perhaps a public service panel a non profit sector panel etc where individuals involved in certain sectors could vote pr could at least nominate. The American primary syste may be a godod model to use for the nominaton process.

It may also be more einteresting if the Seanad did not run concurrently with the Dail, that might eliminate the TDs heading there after they have lost their seats.
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PostSubject: Re: A Seanad for the 21st Century   Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:19 am

As self identified politicians are usually power-hungry and partisan, I would be in favour of a good proportion of a second house being called up like jury members on a rota.
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