Reforming the Seanad
Sir, – Five years ago the people of Ireland voted to retain the Seanad, having been persuaded by a concerted media campaign that doing so would precipitate reforms of the institution that were preferable to its abolition.
In the lead-up to the referendum, The Irish Times published a letter of mine (July 13th) in which I asserted that “Should the outcome of the referendum be to retain the Seanad, there will be no reform.”
Five years on, there has been no meaningful reform and there remains no prospect of this. The reason is as simple and immutable today as it was then: it is in the gift of the government of the day to decide on the nature of any reform, and no government (or government party in waiting) will ever agree to any reform that reduces the power of the Dáil.
If the people were ever given another chance to vote on the issue, one hopes they would not be so foolish again. – Yours, etc,