Seanad’s leisurely pace must change

Vital legislative oversight

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – This week the Seanad returned for just one day, following a three-week break.

The 34-page Order Paper for the Upper House of the Oireachtas for Thursday included almost a dozen pages of important legislation, ranging from family courts reform to a Bill on adoption tracing information, and much, much more. Yet only one piece of legislation was discussed.

The Order Paper also included motions for debate from September 2023 right through to March 2024.

Unlike TDs, senators do not have geographic constituencies. They do not represent a specific county, but rather the entire country.


There is no need for them to hold constituency clinics or attend the opening of a new road in the town where they live.

In February, all sitting senators, without exception, took a standard allowance for their travel – an additional payment on top of their salary. Some picked up €1,456.25 for the month, while others claimed as much as €3,663 just to travel between their home and Leinster House for 23 days of the month.

The question must therefore be asked, what are our 59 senators doing that they need a three-week break followed by a one-day working week? In fact, their standard working week is usually only three days.

While senators also sit on Oireachtas committees and do important work in that respect, committee work cannot be the obstacle that is preventing them dealing with the lengthy backlog of legislation on the Seanad Order Paper.

For the €76,329 a senator is paid, plus the many allowances they collect, the Seanad should meet five days per week, for at least six hours per day and do the work senators are paid to do, rather than the work they wished they were paid to do. – Yours, etc,


East Wall,

Dublin 3.