View Poll Results: Should the Seanad be abolished?

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  • Yes

    371 52.92%
  • No

    330 47.08%
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  1. #121
    teapot teapot is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boggle View Post
    Get rid of the seanad and the county councils and have provincial govts and a national govt, each with their own roles.
    This interesting proposal is almost one which argues for a FEDERAL system here, and it could work. The provincial or maybe termed Regional governments would be elected like MLA's and the Federal Govt elected in a separate election . The Federal Govt takes care of National issues and needs, the regional ones taking the role which has been that of County Councils - but with wider powers and a much more transparent responsibility. Maybe, one day. It is a small country with a small population, but it could be a model with the right thought and application. Bt first, the citizens' approach to politics has to change radically.
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  2. #122
    Rocky Rocky is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibis View Post
    A decision to maintain it as is is still preferable to a decision to abolish it, because an existing Seanad may be reformed if there is a will to do so, whether from the government or through public pressure. An abolished Seanad requires not only the will to reform, but the will to create.
    I don't think we need a second chamber. However I do think the complete opposite is true. First it's far easier to create something from a blank sheet of paper than the wreckage of our current Seanaid, second in any reform the government would have to fight the Senators, no Senators no fight and third historically it already has been abolished and brought back.

    Leaving aside all that though, I think the whole reform thing is complete waffle, the notion of a workable second chamber in a state like Ireland is a total paradox and that there is no example to copy in the whole world, which says an awful lot.
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  3. #123
    ibis ibis is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    I don't think we need a second chamber. However I do think the complete opposite is true. First it's far easier to create something from a blank sheet of paper than the wreckage of our current Seanaid, second in any reform the government would have to fight the Senators, no Senators no fight
    ...which is kind of the point.
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  4. #124
    gijoe gijoe is offline
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    If politics.ie would vote circa 60:40 for Seanad abolition then it will be circa 19:1 in the real world!
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  5. #125
    SEANADSUPPORTER SEANADSUPPORTER is offline

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    The argument of some posters that there is no need for a second chamber in Ireland is wrong. Under the current workings of the Dáil, legislation can be passed with debate being guillotined at the whim of the government. At the very least, the Seanad offers the checks and balances in ensuring that legislation cannot be voted through and signed in the Aras by the evening. Reform, not abolition is the answer. If you used a cost argument for most things e.g. the Dáil, you would probably call for abolition. The majority don't understand the workings of the Lower House either. In compliance with reforms, reduce the salaries of Senators to €20,000-€30,000 and remove the cost argument of the government.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-t...15715888448069
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  6. #126
    Blossie Blossie is offline
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    I believe it should be abolished, past governments have had plenty of opportunity to reform it and never did.It is only now when the purse strings are being tightened that the subject is being taken seriously. As far as I can see it is a means of paying politicians who failed to be elected as TD's.
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  7. #127
    SEANADSUPPORTER SEANADSUPPORTER is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blossie View Post
    I believe it should be abolished, past governments have had plenty of opportunity to reform it and never did.It is only now when the purse strings are being tightened that the subject is being taken seriously. As far as I can see it is a means of paying politicians who failed to be elected as TD's.
    Just because past governments have done nothing, is no valid excuse for abolition. The people elect the government and perhaps, there should be greater pressure put on the current government to give up tokenism and focus on true reform throughout our political system from local government to the Dáil.

    When John Bruton was elected Taoiseach during the 1992-97 Dáil term, he did not inherit a Seanad majority, hence it was necessary for both him and his government to negotiate with the Upper House. He was to later comment on this being a positive experience. Let's have Seanad elections take place on the same day as the general election or perhaps local and European and have the list system mechanism used. In terms of pay, reduce it to €20,000-€30,000 to reflect the fact that the office is an honour and not a retirment home or creche for past or future TD's.

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  8. #128
    alloverbartheshouting alloverbartheshouting is offline
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    I would rather see Seanad reformed rather than abolished for the same reason that I voted 'no' in the recent Oireachtas Inquiry referendum - when push comes to shove, I do not want the Healy-Raes, Lowrys et al. having the last word in any bill that affects any section of society.

    To put the rest of this post in context, like 99% of p.ie'ers, I am a politics junkie. I wouldn't bet on two flies going up a wall, but I'd call a vote to determine who I think should win. Yet while I have a Seanad election vote, I don't use it as I feel the outcome is as relevant to me, my family and my community as the winner of the afore-mentioned fly race. Slightly contradictory, I admit, given my opening comment, but the fact that the Seanad has the responsibility to debate and vote on legislation after the Dáil has passed it is what makes it an institution worth reconsidering before we abolish it altogether. Just because it is not effective now does not mean that it can't be.

    Whatever it was modelled on - The House of Lords or the US Senate - the fact is that these two institutions were modelled to some extent on the Roman Senate, hardly the poster-whatever for modern democracy. Based solely on Leaving Cert results and college choices, CAO choices, only a small group of voters have a right to elect 6 of our 60 senators. This is a democracy of sorts, but one more suited to Ancient Athens. I'd like to think that we have developed the Athenians' notion of democracy somewhat, but when it comes to the Seanad it seems not so much.


    So, if you have read this far into this rambling post, I ask you to consider the first paragraph. I believe that there was a very good reason why Fine Gael were suggesting the abolishment of the Seanad pre-election. It has nothing to do with the waste of public monies or indeed the wishes of the Irish people. It has to do with a consolidation of power. Imagine how easy it would be for any majority to pass whatever they wanted if there was no pesky upper house to hold bills up or worse and thereby draw attention to them?

    Granted, I switch stations when yet again, for example, Ivana Bacik is regurgitating the same ole' "Ah George, you and I will disagree on [insert topic here]" interview every few weeks on The Right Hook but the more I think about it, the more I think that this is exactly what every Irish Government has ever dreamt of - an upper house deemed so pointless that its abolishment will come down to a feigned matter of concern fot the public purse and little else.

    So, as far as I'm concerned it partly comes down to the following:

    - all who are eligible to vote in General Elections should be able to vote in Seanad Elections
    - the number of county councilors should be reduced as so many TDs seem to like chasing pot-hole/parking permit/green-site issues
    - the Taoiseach should not be allowed to have Seanad nominees
    - if the judiciary concurs with their findings, then the Seanad should have the right to veto bills (a bit idealistic, I know)

    There are many other suggestions for the perfect Seanad that should be taken into consideration (and I do not claim to know them all) but ultimately, by abolishing the Seanad rather than reforming it we are in real danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
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  9. #129
    ivnryn ivnryn is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_law13 View Post
    Seanad = abolish it
    Dail = Reform it..
    i.e. 100 seat parliament, 50 two seat constituencies (or maybe 33 three seaters) and PM with the option of nominating say 3 members to cabinet that are not elected.. e.g. in the format current nominations to the Seanad.
    So, make it harder for alternatives to the establishment to get elected and increase localism?
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  10. #130
    Panopticon Panopticon is offline
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    Why do countries adopt upper houses?

    To protect a group of people which would otherwise lose out in a majority-vote system.

    House of Lords: protects interests of aristocrats, who would otherwise have enjoyed little power to protect their feudal entitlements.
    United States Senate: protects interests of small states which feared the power of the federal government.

    We certainly did have such a group of people, at the time of foundation of the state. The Free State Senate existed, in theory and practice, to promote an Anglo-Irish voice in the new state. It was introduced for the same reason the UK promoted PR-STV. The UK wanted to allow Anglo-Irish people to protect and preserve themselves. But, as it happened, they split into two groups upon independence. One departed, quickly or gradually, and the other assimilated.

    It's not clear that Ireland has such a minority group that deserves special protection any more. Like the homogenous Nordic states, we don't have a significant political cleavage. The Nordic states don't have upper houses.
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