Fifteen uses for an abolished Seanad
This week Miriam Lord looks at Enda’s breakfast and Cong’s new quiet man
Photo of Enda Kenny in Ranelagh with two FG election hopefuls in Dublin South East - Kate O’Connell and Paddy Smyth. By iPhonePicture for Miriam Lord’s column
So will it be Yes for the heave-ho or a No for the status quo? We’ll know that answer later today.
However, in the event of abolition, there’s the small matter of the Seanad chamber to consider. This beautifully lit space used to be the ballroom in Leinster House. With its gilded barrel ceiling and sparkling chandeliers, the room is much more grand than the dull Dáil chamber and perfect for giving people notions about themselves.
Here are some possible uses:
This resource would provide a much-needed outlet for politicians to indulge their flair for amateur dramatics. Here, they could hone their acting skills, pick up tips on presentation and motivation, keep the Dáil canteen forever in ham and save on fees to Terry Prone.
Place of self-worship
Opened in homage to its former residents – the Senators – it would give TDs a chance to value themselves in wonderful surroundings while contemplating the political hereafter and how they might hold on to their seats.
Hall of Mirrors
A Star Chamber
They would if they could.
Relocate the Dáil Bar
What a wonderful room. The authorities could put a roundy bar in the middle and keep the blue leather chairs with the harp embossed on them.
Mine host Terry Leyden behind the bar, dispensing gin and guff. Pictures of great Irish parliamentarians lining the walls, and Senators too. They could use it for entertaining foreign dignatories. Saves shuttling them up to Guinnesses to coo over a pint or over to Dalkey to commune with Bono.
A panic room
For when the demonstrators finally burst through the barriers on Kildare Street and storm down the plinth.
Ye Olde New Seanad
Leinster House isn’t the same since the little shop inside the main gates closed for business earlier this year. The existing line of souvenir knick-knacks could be expanded to take account of the larger sales area and increased tourist footfall brought in by the new attraction.
No need. Not with the Seanad gone.
Surplus to requirements. See above.
A television room
We hear a group of cross-party Senators made quite a racket in the Members’ Bar on Wednesday night when Vincent Browne had his TV3 referendum debate. Richard Bruton and Mary Lou McDonald (best performance of the night) advocated abolition and Michael McDowell and Micheál Martin argued for the retention of the Seanad. “The roars of ‘Go on Micheál! Go on Micheál!’ had the rest of us nearly deafened. I had to go home” said one deputy afterwards.
Venue for afternoon tea dances/bingo
Michael Noonan would make a wonderful bingo caller.
If nothing else, it would be a novelty for deputies from the midlands.
Breakout Room for the The Others/The Exiles/The Unwhipped
With so many sailors going overboard from the Coalition parties, they need a place to relax and unwind.
Joe Duffy could host Funny Friday from the defunct Seanad chamber. Mind you, he could do the same from the Dáil chamber. That’s a wasteland on Fridays too – even when there’s a sitting.
A fine exhibition space There’s a large ante-chamber leading into the ornate ballroom and more offices behind. If the powers that be got their act together, Leinster House – with the National and Natural History Museums and the National Library – could make The Kildare Street Quarter a nice tourist attraction.