Public Consultation on the General Scheme for the Seanad Electoral (University Members) (Amendment) Bill 2024

We welcome the opportunity to engage in this consultation and urge that the Department would provide further opportunities for engagement at later stages. At the outset we must signify our total opposition to this draft Bill as it falls far short of the blueprint for real Seanad reform that has been agreed on a cross-party agreement.

The first portion of our submission deals with the broader questions and the second part deals with the very significant problems with the Bill as drafted.

We are of the view that:

  • The Government’s Bill should be discarded in favour of the Seanad Bill 2020; and
  • The Government’s Bill contains numerous problematic provisions which will limit democratic participation in Seanad elections.

The Seanad Franchise:

The question of the implementation of the seventh amendment of the Constitution cannot sit in isolation from the wider question of Seanad reform. The Supreme Court ruling confirms that action must be taken. However, a minimalist approach to legislating on this issue would not be true to the spirit of either the 1979 or 2013 referenda – in which the public clearly called for reform.

The public voted in the 2013 referendum for a reformed Seanad and the 2015 Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform (the Manning Report) clearly recommended that “a majority of the Panel seats be elected by popular vote on the principle of one person one vote.”

Arms Embargo Bill to restrict transfer of munitions of war, weapons and dangerous dual-use goods to Israel

In light of Ireland’s recent recognition of the State of Palestine, the Seanad Civil Engagement group is calling for tangible actions to curb the flow of arms being used in the relentless assault against the people of Gaza. On Wednesday 29 May, Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane, Frances Black and Eileen Flynn will be bringing a Bill to the Seanad that seeks to ensure that munitions of war, weapons and dangerous goods are not being transferred to Israel through Ireland, either directly or indirectly.