The future of the Seanad
Sir, – On December 15th, 1920, the British cabinet, chaired by Lloyd George, and attended by Sir James Craig and Sir Edward Carson, agreed to set up second chambers in Stormont and Dublin. The southern senate would have 64 members. It was to include 17 senators nominated by the lord lieutenant to represent “ commerce, labour and the scientific and learned professors”. The reason given was to give “some protection to a Protestant minority”. This was its sole purpose. The Seanad is a relic of that settlement. Why can the Northern Assembly can get by with one chamber but we must mirror the British and have two? – Yours, etc,
Glendalough Park, Cork.
Sir, – The Seanad is far from perfect and many of the arguments in favour are valid grievances. However, I would much rather see reform rather than abolition. It has the potential to be a powerful counterbalance to factious Dáils, with academics and specialists from agriculture, industry, culture, labour unions and the public service providing clarity and insight on the wide array of legislation that passes before it, an advantage that few other governmental systems can claim. Eliminating them from parliament would be to silence wisdom that comes only with experience. – Yours, etc,