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Seanad News: Business as usual! April 26, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

For results look here!


Okay, the results are coming in. A good day for SF. And the Green Party. And Independents, sort of kind of. NUI and TCD seats seem to be pushing towards the status quo ante largely.

And speaking of the status quo ante. How heartening to see the much talked of reform reaching all the way to the new Seanad cohort. Take, by way of example, the words of Senator Kieran O’Donnell (FG):

A former Limerick TD and member of the Oireachtas banking inquiry, Mr O’Donnell said he was delighted to be elected to the Seanad. He said after a “long, hard election I am happy to continue in full-time politics.
“My objective is to represent the people of Limerick and to regain my Dáil seat at the next election.”

That’s lack of change that’s all too easy to believe!

Is anyone surprised by Mullen and McDowell doing well in NUI? They’ve national name recognition (sort of kind of) and that’s the exposure that money cannot buy. TCD, with Norris seeming to top the poll and Bacik second likewise, though one might have thought the latter would have suffered the slings and arrows fired at her party, but perhaps the Seanad offered more cover than might be expected.

Anyhow, it’s farewell to Senator Jim D’Arcy, the hammer of the Shinners, a man for who no speech was complete without at least one slighting reference to Gerry Adams, SF or preferably both.

Here’s a thought, if Averil Power had simply toughed it out in FF across the last year or so, kept her concerns somewhat quieter, would she now be renominated to the Seanad by a reasonably grateful Micheál Martin? One can but wonder, though she remains in contention on the TCD panel.

Meanwhile, am I reading this wrong? Surely this is incorrect? SF had 3 Senators in the last Seanad:

Sinn Féin expects to have seven senators in the 25th Seanad when voting is completed this week on the five vocational panels of the Upper House – an increase of five seats.


1. Tomboktu - April 26, 2016

Shocking to see the first three in the NUI constituency: Rónán Mullen, Michael McDowell and Pádraig Ó Céide.


CL - April 26, 2016

What proportion of the Senate electorate from NUI is working class?


WorldbyStorm - April 26, 2016

I don’t know tbh. Weird how TCD seems marginally more liberal (usual caveats apply).


PaddyM - April 27, 2016

TCD is more liberal as long as you interpret “liberal” as social liberalism – nothing more, nothing less. It’s part of the self-image of the place. I don’t recall Ivana, heroine of the Twitter “left”, raising much of an issue over homelessness, or the state of the public health service, or the abuse of JobBridge.

I think SF have nominated an independent – Ciarán Staunton (based in New York) – for the Industrial and Commercial Panel, which may explain the discrepancy between seven and eight.


botheredbarney - April 27, 2016

Former Senator Brendan Ryan in the late 70s (or early 80s) distinguished between Pelvic Issues and Social Issues. He tried in vain to bring a homelessness bill to the Seanad. He noted, like PaddyM, that there are people who flaunt their liberal attitudes to sex issues, but are lacklustre or conservative on economic issues bearing on the daily lives of those who live on the margins.


Michael Carley - April 27, 2016

That idea of `socially liberal’ being `left’ is falling apart now for just that reason. Now that `diversity’ (or the appearance of it) has been co-opted by capital, we’re back to `left’ having to involve economics.

A proper view on `pelvic issues’ etc. is a necessary part but not sufficient part of being `left’.

Liked by 1 person

gendjinn - April 27, 2016

In my year 3 of us went to TCD and over 40 went to UCD. And this from the Fingal area.

The split was atheists vs massgoers.


sonofstan - April 27, 2016

I guess with both constituencies it’s down to who bothers to register and then vote. In the case of my daughter (TCD) and me(NUI) it was our first time voting and we had to make the effort to get on the register – no communication from either university urging us to. Not that there’d should be, necessarily, but in the absence of encouragement, how many are going to remember to find out how and then do it?
I suspect the electorate in both tilts heavily towards older graduates, and even more so among those who actually vote.


Michael Carley - April 27, 2016

TCD long ago became the de facto Northside university (before DCU had university status). It is also a bit less socially exclusive than UCD in terms of proportion of private school students.


sonofstan - April 27, 2016

That’s true. I’ve taught in both and UCD fulfils the popular stereotype that TCD enjoys more closely, at least in certain subject areas.


WorldbyStorm - April 27, 2016

No argument there PaddyM. That said I think there’s also something in what MC is saying. TCD has shifted its intake across the last number of decades.


Michael Carley - April 27, 2016

I put Trinity as my first choice because it meant one bus from Tallaght instead of two.


Alibaba - April 27, 2016

I also chose the one bus drive option to Trinity. My maintenance grant didn’t even pay the bus fare there. As well as working every weekend and summers, I had to work in the TCD registration process for a few weeks before term started. You might remember that entrants were obliged to give their fathers’ employment (at least way back). Out of curiosity, I went throught the records, listed alphabetically, to see what was there for me. I had listed ‘factory worker’. Bang next to me was a foreign national whose father was a ‘potentate’. It’s probably fair to say the Trinity has opened its doors wider through various specially funded programmes, including ones that offer some mentoring facilities to those from less privileged backgrounds. But I suspect there’s a token element to this.


Michael Carley - April 27, 2016

There was a story in the Irish Times when I was at Trinity about a woman from the Northside who had done a degree and was also working in the union shop, and she said that the number (not percentage) of students entering Trinity every year from the lowest socioeconomic groups was in single figures. I checked the claim in the HEA statistics and it turned out to be true, though Trinity was certainly no worse than other Irish universities on that score. I think I would have counted as one of those students.

When I said this to another graduate student in my department, a member of a very prominent family, he replied “I don’t believe that” and no quantity of numerical data would change his mind. Evidence be damned. If you ever needed class brought home as lived experience, that was it.

Speaking of which, I’ve read the first chapter and Lynnsey Hanley’s new book is great, extract here:


Liked by 1 person

2. 6to5against - April 27, 2016

Seanad elections are really all about turnout. How many living TCD graduates must there be – surely well up into the tens of thousands? But less than two thousand votes is enough to get elected. Its about establishing a a vote and nurturing it carefully over the years. Its not a constituency in the normal sense of the word.
I imagine, for example, that Ronan McMullen had little interest in selling his particular politics to the graduates of NUI. I imagine instead that he got himself a list of Uber Catholics who happen to be NUI graduates, and persuaded them to vote.


CMK - April 27, 2016

Are priests who hold degrees from Maynooth considered as NUI graduates? If they are that could explain some of Mullen’s vote?


Jolly Red Giant - April 27, 2016

Yep – Maynooth grads are on the electorate.


3. Gerryboy - April 27, 2016

Hey. Don’t forget, there are lots of believing Catholics who graduated from Trinity as well as NUI. Conservative Protestant Trinity grads who tend towards ‘traditional family values’ may or may not have voted for candidates like Norris and Bacick. I doubt whether the priest factor in Maynooth grads’ support for Mullen is numerically as important as the conservative attitude among lay grads who vote FF and FG, and even Independent, in general elections. National recognition through television exposure is still a powerful influence on Seanad voting preferences. Whatever the results, the system for electing the Seanad needs to be democratically reformed.


4. roddy - April 27, 2016

Michael ,unfortunately many people who change class look down on those they left behind ,even their own families.My brother in law told me only yesterday about his uncle who “prospered” whilst the rest of his family did’nt.The said uncle would get his working class brothers to do gardening type jobs round his house in an affluent area but his snobby wife told them not to say to the neighbours that they were related!


5. botheredbarney - April 27, 2016

@roddy Since the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing happened recently, here is Brutus in Julius Caesar – a political play – commenting on how successful individuals look down on the people left behind. It applies to reforming politicians who eventually get into power as well:-

But ’tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round.
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.


6. KennethBanzai - April 27, 2016

From the always estimable Prof Honeydew, on the AAA’s failure to capture a Seanad seat:

“No Seanad seat for Cian Il-Sung. He got 51 votes on the first count with the quota at 93 but picked up just 14 transfers out of a poll of 1,124 and was passed out by a string of candidates who all got elected.

The Trots wasted their 41 guaranteed votes by not making a deal with anyone else. They could have swapped them with Labour or the Greens or any other group on, say, the Agricultural panel in return for supporting the Son-of-Mammy on the Labour panel and both sides might have got an extra seat each. Even the Greens, who had only a dozen or so guaranteed votes got Grace O’Sullivan elected in Agriculture in return for lending out their support on other panels.

This political own goal makes you wonder whether the Trots are capable of anything beyond spouting off ideological claptrap. The Comrade Councillor’s two biggest rivals in the next election, Kieran O’Donnell and Maria Byrne, both got elected, giving them a more effective electoral platform than ranting into a megaphone.”



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