Reforming the Seanad

 

Sir, – I see that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny “rules out votes for all in Seanad elections” (Home News, December 19th). However, there is no doubt that all citizens should be allowed to vote in the Seanad elections, but not just for 10 per cent of the Senate (six out of 60 senators). The six should be changed to at least 20. For example, the Taoiseach’s nominees could change from 11 to zero (six plus 11 equals 17) and the number of nominees for the five panels could change from 43 to 40 (17 plus three equals 20) or some other combination.

It’s just an idea. But, behind this idea is an expanded enfranchisement to all citizens. I understand a referendum is needed for significant structural change, so why not use such a referendum to maximise the reformation so clearly desired by a large number of voters. The easy option is to expand the votes for the six seats to all third-level students and graduates, but that is not a sufficient sharing of the rule-resource properties of power. For the record, I am a graduate of UCG (now NUIG). – Yours, etc,

Dr JAMES FINNEGAN,

Woodland,

Letterkenny,

Co Donegal.

Sir, – In the Seanad last week, Independent Senator John Crown spoke passionately about alleged fraud in St Vincent’s hospital, while Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O’Brien and Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins focused on alleged corrupt activity within Nama. And to think the Government found it hard to justify the existence of the Seanad in the recent referendum. Seek no more, Enda Kenny, it provides a platform for clarion voices that cannot be heard in the Dáil. – Yours, etc,

PAT CALLAN,

Carrick Court,

Portmarnock, Co Dublin.