Film producer David Puttnam calls for Seanad to be retained

Upper House needs a clear outline of its responsibilities, says British peer

David Puttnam is a member of the UK’s House of Lords. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

David Puttnam is a member of the UK’s House of Lords. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Wed, Oct 2, 2013, 01:00

The Seanad should be retained and reformed and given a clear outline of what its purpose and responsibilities are, David Puttnam has said.

Lord Puttnam, a member of Britain’s House of Lords and a film producer who has lived in Cork for some 20 years, said it was not clear to him why the Government was proposing the abolition of the Upper House.

He said there were many things the Seanad should and could do, such as work in the areas of pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny.

“Parliaments around the world are too busy, honestly, to scrutinise legislation in the way it deserves to be scrutinised, which is why you get mistakes,” he said in an interview with marketing.ie.

“[There is an] idea that on a cycle every five years . . . you look at the laws you have got and assess their effectiveness and whether they need improving or changing or modernising – that’s a role for somebody and a role
that could be done by a Seanad for sure.”

Lord Puttnam said it appeared to him that one of the problems in the debate about the Seanad was that people were not quite sure “why it’s there or what its purpose is or what it achieves”. He said its role should be more clearly defined for the 21st century.