University senators and the future of the Seanad


Sir, – Kathy Sheridan tells us that “when the Seanad was threatened with abolition in the 2013 referendum fewer than four in 10 bothered to vote” (“It’s going to take a lot more than Hazel Chu to shake up the Seanad”, Opinion & Analysis, August 4th).

That tells us that to most people, the Seanad is certainly not an important institution.

It is a place where the insider elite, including the friends of the Irish media, are given a place to waffle.

We had a chance to get rid of it in 2013 but did not.

If we got rid of it we would have in the Dáil a similar number of national politicians per unit of population as most of the similar-sized European countries. The reason we did not get rid of the Seanad was that the Irish media controlled the agenda in the referendum.

That agenda supported the keeping of an expensive talking shop for the insider elite. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.

Sir, – Aidan Coyne (Letters, August 5th) misses the core issue. No one doubts the quality of any of the senators elected by graduates in the past. However, the notion that a relatively tiny group of NUI and University of Dublin (TCD) graduates alone should elect six of the senators (10 per cent) is wholly indefensible. Voting rights should have been extended to graduates of all third-level institutions years ago. – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.