University senators

 

Sir, – Recent letters to The Irish Times have delivered well-intentioned, if hyperbolic, criticism of the University Seats in Seanad Éireann. Whatever the merits of the constituencies and franchise, the quality of the Oireachtas members chosen by Trinity College cannot be called into question. Leading figures in public life and national politics have been elected by its graduates, including Noel Browne, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Mary Robinson, Catherine McGuinness, David Norris, Shane Ross, Sean Barrett, Ivana Bacik and Lynn Ruane. They have worked on, and campaigned for, issues which affected many groups in society who were not in their electorate.

As an individual privileged under Article 18.4 of the Constitution of Ireland, I am proud to have voted for many of these crusading figures. While the Seanad is clearly in need of reform, examination of indirect election by 949 county councillors and the appointment by the Taoiseach of 11 senators would be a more effective way to improve the calibre in the upper chamber. – Yours, etc,

AIDAN COYNE, MA

Goatstown,

Dublin 14.