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Seanad vocational panels – some calculations February 27, 2020

Posted by Tomboktu in Bits and Pieces, Irish Politics.
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[Note: Updated 28 Feb to correct an error in the Sinn Féin figures. Thanks to Roscommon21 on Twitter for spotting it.]

Nominations for the vocational panels in the Seanad general election close on Monday. The voters are the combined sets of: members of the city and county councils, members of the outgoing Seanad, and members of the Dáil.

My calculation is that the electorate will be 1,161 voters. It could possibly a few under that, but I expect that all council seats that became vacant with the Dáil election will be filled and that there will be no other vacant seats in any of the councils. There are eight vacancies in the Seanad following the Dáil election.

The 1,161 voters consist of the following:

  • 949 councillors
  • 160 TDs
  • 52 senators.

I don’t know how many councillors have resigned from their party or joined a party since the election last year, so I assume the numbers are as they were then. (I’m using this wikipedia page as the source for the party numbers.) I will list ten ‘parties’, reflecting the nine Dáil parties plus ‘Independents and others’ (and counting as part of the ‘Independents and others’ members of parties that had one councillor elected).

Cllr

TD

Sen

Total

FF

279

38

12

329

FG

255

35

17

307

SF

81

37

4

122

Lab

57

6

2

65

GP

49

12

1

62

SD

19

6

0

25

S/PBP

11

5

0

16

Aon

4

0

0

4

I4C

3

0

0

3

Ind+Ors

185

7

7

192

There are five panels, and each voter gets a vote in each panel — essentially five elections in parallel. The number of seats on the panels varies, so the quota will vary. The number of seats on each panel is set out in the following table. Also shown is the number votes that a ‘quota’ on each panel will be, assuming all 1,161 voters cast a valid vote. (That is unlikely to be achieved. In 2016, 17 of the voters managed to make a mistake in returning their papers in accordance with the rules, and further 3 managed to spoil their papers — 4 spoilt in the case of the Cultural and Educational Panel.)  I’ve put the word quota in inverted commas here because the way in which the quota on a Seanad panel is calculated is different from the way it is done in a Dáil election, and fractions matter in transfers — but the details of that are for another day.)

Panel

Seats

Quota”

Agriculture

11

96.8

Labour

11

96.8

Industry

9

116.1

Administrative

7

145.1

Cultural

5

193.5

Combining the number of votes each party has with the quotas for each panel gives the following

Votes party has

Quotas party has

Agr

Lab

Ind

Adm

Cul

FF

329

3.40

3.40

2.83

2.27

1.70

FG

307

3.17

3.17

2.64

2.12

1.59

SF

122

1.26

1.26

1.05

0.84

0.63

Lab

65

0.67

0.67

0.56

0.45

0.34

GP

62

0.64

0.64

0.53

0.43

0.32

SD

25

0.26

0.26

0.22

0.17

0.13

S/PBP

16

0.17

0.17

0.14

0.11

0.08

Aon

4

0.04

0.04

0.03

0.03

0.02

I4C

3

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.02

0.02

Ind+Ors

192

1.98

1.98

1.65

1.32

0.99

The first point we can see from this is that:

  • Fianna Fáil is guaranteed 11 seats.
  • Fine Gael is guaranteed 11 seats.
  • Sinn Féin is guaranteed 3 seats . [Sinn Féin is guaranteed 4 seats and so close to a fifth that it is almost guaranteed to get it.]
  • The Social Democrats, Solidarity/People Before Profit, Aontú and Independents 4 Change do not have enough to make a seat. Even if they were to all back an agreed candidate on any panel, that candidate would still need to get most of their votes from others in order to get elected.

That leaves 18 [16] seats on the panels where the destination is not assured, where the votes of the smaller parties and independents will decide the matter.

What could happen with those seats?

First, Labour and the Green Party have more than half a quota each on three panels and almost half a quota each on a fourth panel, so they could do a deal and vote for a Labour candidate on each of two panels and for a Green Party candidate on each of the other two panels and be sure of three of those being elected, with the fourth almost certain to make it. That would leave 14 [12] seats to be decided.

Second, the ‘independents and others’ would in theory be guaranteed four seats and would almost be certain to get three others if they were to act in concert. They would probably secure a further seat on the Industrial panel if the Social Democrats and Solidarity-People Before Profit voters were to add their combined one-third of a quota to the 1.65 of a quota that I’ve classified as ‘independents and others’.

In the 2016 Seanad elections, four independents were elected: one each on the Agricultural (Victor Boyhan), Labour (Gerard Craughwell), Industrial (Frances Black) and Administrative (John Dolan) panels. Two of these had had notable roles outside of politics before their election: Frances Black in traditional music, and John Dolan in disability activism. One had been a politician since the 1990s: Boyhan. And the fourth was, well, somewhere between the two: Craughwell. Repetition of that allocation of four seats to independents would leave 10 [8] seats up for grabs. I have no idea how they will fall.

Comments»

1. Tomboktu - February 27, 2020

And bang on time

Liked by 1 person

2. WorldbyStorm - February 27, 2020

Fantastic post, what a mess though it all is.

Liked by 1 person

3. Tomboktu - February 28, 2020

Like

4. Tomboktu - February 28, 2020

Like

WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2020

That’s an interesting point re Inds. It is a huge underperformance. But why?

Liked by 1 person

Tomboktu - February 28, 2020

Being an independent is a statement of what you are not, not a statement of what you are. And behind that is a set of structures that they lack.

A party councillor in Donegal or Leitrim might never have met her party’s Seanad candidate from Wexford or Waterford, but she will get a notification from her party telling her this is a candidate she should vote for.

Liked by 2 people

5. Paul Culloty - February 28, 2020

SDs running Niall O’Tuathail for Industrial and Commercial, so presumably horse-trading with Independents and parties of the left.

Liked by 2 people

6. Tomboktu - March 20, 2020

Is this an indication of a pact?

Rebecca Moynihan, a Labour councillor, has been nominated on the Administrative panel by two Labour TDs (Ged Nash and Brendan Howlin), a Sinn Féin TD (Denise Mitchell) and a Green TD (Roderic O’Gorman).

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - March 20, 2020

That’s an interesting one.

Liked by 1 person

Tomboktu - March 20, 2020

Other nominations of interest:

Annie Hoey, Labour, (Agircultural panel)
nominated by Kevin Humpreys, Ivana Bacik and Duncan Smith of Labour and Paul Donnelly of Sinn Féin

Mark Wall, Labour (Industrial and commercial panel)
nominated by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Alan Kelly, and Seán Sherlock of Labour and Michael McNamara, independent ex-Labour

Paul Lawless, Aontú (Cultural and educational panel)
nominated by Bráin Ó Domhnall, Cathal Berry, Carol Nolan and Peader Toibin. (This panel has the fewest seats – a major coup i he gets elected.)

Joe O’Reilly, Fine Gael (Labour panel)
nominated by Sean Kyne, Jerry Buttimer and Paddy Burke of Fine Gael and Marie-Louise O’Donnell independent senator (Taoiseach’s nominee)

Victor Boyhan, independent (ex PD) (Agricultural panel)
Nominated by himself, David Norris, Michael McDowell and Billy Lawless (independent Taoiseach nominee representing emigrants, ex FG member)

Patrick Kent, on Mick Wallace’s MEP replacement list (Agricultural panel)
Nominated by Verona Murpky, Matt Shanahan, Richard O’Donoghue, and Michael Collins

Eileen Flynn, Traveller activist (Labour panel)
nominated by Richard Boyd-Barrett, Bríd Smith, Gino Kenny and Thomas Pringle

Frances Black, independent (Industrial and commercial panel)
Niminated by herself and Lynn Ruane, Alic-Mary Higgins, Collette Kelleher

Nigel Dineen, independent, independent (Industrial and commercial panel)
Nominated by Michael Fitzmaurice, Mairian Harkin, Rónán Mullen and Ian Marshall

Sharon Keegan, independent (ex FF) (Industrial and commercial panel)
Nominated by Gerard Craughwell, Joan Freeman (independent Taoiseach’s nominee, was presidential candidate), Mattie McGrah, and Peter Fitzpatrick

Timothy Hogan, independent (Administrative panel)
Nominated by Mick Barry, Joan Collins, Paul Murphy and Catherine Murphy.

Thomas Welby, independent (ex FF, ex PD)
nominated by Denis Naughten, Michael Healy-Rea, Michael Lowry and Noel Grealish.

Like

7. roddy - March 21, 2020

If Kent is an ally of Wallace,are his nominees not a bit strange?

Like

Tomboktu - March 21, 2020

That’s what I thought.

Liked by 1 person


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