Seanad reform and Independents

 

Sir, – Noel Whelan is right to draw attention to woeful lack of conviction from successive Governments of all political parties to reform the Seanad (“Disgrace that Seanad still being elected in archaic way”, March 18th). There isn’t a candidate currently running for the Seanad that isn’t loudly advocating reform.

Of course the insidious whip hand of the parties will still be felt in the upper house with many, ostensibly independent senators, having secured their positions through patronage at local-government level.

In this context, the six votes of the university panels senators could very well hold the balance of power on significant matters. With ballot papers arriving in the post today, there’s never been a more important time for university panel voters to weigh their privileged extra vote carefully, scrutinise the record and policies of candidates, and look for truly independent voices committed to reform.

A genuine reform programme for parliament will rely on it. – Yours, etc,

BARRY JOHNSTON

Seanad candidate,

NUI panel (Independent),

London.