Seanad election and the NUI panel

 

Sir, – A total of 30 candidates are seeking election to the Seanad on the National University of Ireland panel.

To assist in identifying possible preferences, I made the following rough breakdown of candidates’ attributes under some admittedly arbitrary classifications, based on their election literature and selected other accessible information.

What they do do? A total of 17 work in services businesses within the State, and 13 are in activities that are broadly “social” in nature, such as community work, advocacy and education. No one seems to actually make anything, or to be in any kind of production business or agriculture. Neither does anyone seem to be active in export services. Thus none of the candidates would appear to have any experience or knowledge of activities that earn foreign income for the State.

What economic sectors are they in? None of them is in engineering, science (other than medical), or information technology. Some 13 can be said to be in non-technical commercial activity of some kind, but the other 17 are in generally social fields, here defined somewhat more widely to embrace medical activity.

Who pays them? For at least 12, it is the taxpayer. Another 14 appear to have income from both public and private sources. Just four seem to earn their living entirely from commercial work.

Their politics? At least 14 seem to have overt political affiliations or ambitions, or are unsuccessful Dáil candidates.

I cannot be definitive on any individual figure of my categorisations, but the overall picture suggests that the hypothetical typical candidate works in non-technical services within the State in the social sector, is significantly sustained by State funds, and is quite political.

The university panels have been said to provide independent and informed voices not otherwise present in our legislative assemblies. The present analysis might assist in identifying those of the 30 current candidates likely to display those qualities. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL J WALSH,

Glenageary, Co Dublin.