Future of the Seanad
Sir, – I note that 14 Senators were not in attendance for the recall of the Seanad for last Tuesday’s debate (Home News, August 21st). This represents an absenteeism level of approximately 25 per cent. If such a level of absenteeism was recorded in any other public institution or agency (for example, among teachers, gardaí, nurses and civil servants), there would quite rightly be a public outcry and banner headlines in our national media.
What it seems to further indicate is that this public institution, despite many reports on its reform, is simply not fit for purpose. Thankfully, the people of Ireland who are eligible to vote are being given an opportunity to abolish this fundamentally undemocratic, elitist and outdated institution.
The membership of the Seanad is elected on a restricted and exclusive voting and appointment system redolent of the corporate state ideas of the 1930s. Already other modern democracies have taken this step of reform and do not require two chambers of government to govern broadly similar-sized populations. We should vote to abolish the Seanad in the referendum on October 4th. – Yours, etc,