Seanad electorate and reform


Sir, – In reply to John Hughes’s letter on the subject of reforming the Seanad university panel elections (February 18th), the Government was, in December 2018, handed a report from the all-party Seanad Reform Implementation Group which I chaired, complete with draft legislation prepared by a professional parliamentary draftsman to give effect to the 1979 referendum.

That Bill also gives effect to the Manning report to end the present “rotten borough” system of electing the vocational panels which currently allows just 1,169 elected politicians (incoming TDs, outgoing senators, and sitting city and county Councillors) five votes each to elect 43 senators.

The Bill handed to the government makes provision for every citizen (not just all university graduates) to have one equal vote in future Seanad elections of its elected members. I remain totally committed to the early implementation of the report of the group which I chaired. – Yours, etc,



Seanad Éireann,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2.