Current Affairs Politics

Seanad Éireann – Where Irish Democracy Goes To Die

Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Oh, you won't get me with that one!
Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Oh, you won’t get me with that one!

How many observers of Ireland’s patronage-based political system predicted that a failure to abolish Seanad Éireann by referendum would simply leave things as they were bar a few minor cosmetic change to fool the citizenry and assuage some ministerial consciences. From the

“THE SEANAD SHOULD have a role to scrutinise European legislation and Oireachtas committee reports, but there will be no more referendums on the issue and no universal suffrage for elections to the upper house, the Taoiseach has said.

Enda Kenny was speaking today as he cited a report from Referendum Commission about the two recent referendums which he said showed that 55 per cent of those who voted were unclear about the ballot papers and what they meant.

The government intends to legislate for a 1979 referendum result which would extend the franchise for elections to all third-level graduates, but proposals allowing for everybody in the State who is eligible to have a vote have been ruled out.”

One citizen one vote? Not in Ireland where the rights of the entitled few is built into virtually every aspect of our law and government. And now we are told that the plebiscite on Seanad Éireann is lacking in democratic validity. Again from the

“A REPORT BY the Referendum Commission into the referendums on the Seanad and the Court of Appeal has found that there was significant confusion over the ballot papers, particularly the Seanad vote.

The report said that the wording of the question, in which a Yes vote meant that the voter wanted to abolish the Seanad, led to some people voting the wrong way.

The final result of the Seanad referendum was 51.7 per cent in favour of retaining it against 48.3 per cent in favour of abolishing it, suggesting that the vote could have been reversed if people had better understood the ballot paper.”

Is this the nation we wish to live in? The republic we wish to call our own?

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