Seanad elections and graduates

 

Sir, – The Constitution originally permitted only TCD graduates and graduates of the three NUI colleges to take part in the Seanad “university panel” election. Since 1979, after a referendum to amend the Constitution, this is no longer the case. However, in practice, for over 30 years Senators and TDs have refused to draft the required legislation needed to implement the decision of the 1979 referendum and adjust the Seanad “university panel” in line with the 1979 referendum.

As a disenfranchised graduate of the National College of Art and Design, I object to this refusal by politicians to respect the solemn will of the people in the 1979 referendum. I object in particular to the existence of this unjust and unconstitutional monopoly which permits only NUI and TCD graduates to vote in and to stand for election in the Seanad university panel elections. This monopoly has resulted in the exclusion of the remaining two-thirds of Irish third-level graduates from Seanad elections.

I call upon all Seanad candidates in the university panel elections to declare their intention to draft the required legislation needed in order to bring the university panel into line with the constitutional changes of 1979 and thus permit a broader range of expertise to be represented in Seanad Éireann. – Yours, etc,

JOHN HUGHES,

Indreabhán,

Co na Gaillimhe.