And what of the Seanad ‘reform’ front… October 14, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
“I intend to discuss this with other leaders in the coming weeks and, as a small first step, I have asked that legislation be prepared to give effect to the 1979 decision of the Irish people to extend the Seanad electorate to all graduates,” said Mr Kenny, who was behind the idea to hold last week’s referendum.
Refreshing our minds as to that decision, a mere three decade ago, it raises some interesting questions:
A 1979 referendum on extending the Seanad franchise to graduates of “any other institutions of higher education in the State” was emphatically passed but the measure has not been enacted to date. At present, graduates of the National University of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin each elect three senators.
Presumably it would be the same number of Senators but with a broader electorate? But that electorate is troublesome, to put it mildly, given that it is only a dilution of the elitist aspect of the Seanad, rather than a removal of only the most egregious elitist aspect. Is Kenny perhaps counting on this, that it will generate problems in the longer term for those proposing Seanad retention, or has he thrown his hands in the air and is merely picking for the most easily available policy that can be implemented by him without constitutional change and, more importantly, with some element of democratic legitimation? Or is it perhaps a mixture of both?
He has at least had the good sense to note that this is “a small first step”.