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Old October 8th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #41
odlum833
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However since he is the chief instigator of this referendum, floating the idea four years' ago, he did at least owe the people and explanation as to why they should back him on it.
Which he didn't give. This is not the first time he has refused to engage with a referendum. Even in the GE in 2011 he was too shy about debating. That could ultimately have lost the government this vote. And it's going to get him in to trouble sooner or later.

Good post btw.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 12:56 PM   #42
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Dvblvnia

Looking at your proposals you still include fundamentally undemocratic instruments such as the University panel. This is utterly unfair.

Secondly, the other reforms you suggest would require a referendum. Thus far, of the No voters who supposedly wanted a Reformed Seanad I have yet to hear any two agree on what system should be adopted. With that in mind, its likely that if we did need a referendum to reform then its very likely that many would disagree with the proposals and due to our wonderful Referendum laws they would get 50% of the coverage as thus enough space to frighten a decisive margin into voting No.

Any change which avoids a referendum, would simply be cosmetic as the University panels, Vocational panels, Taoiseach Nominees, limited oversight powers and restrictions are all set in stone in the Constitution. So whilst we might be able to expand the elitist University panels, and extend suffrage for the vocational panels. We will still have a politicised Seanad with narrow representation and no powers of oversight or examination. In short, even reformed it would just become a parallel Dail with no power. There might be a few hissy fits in the coming months. The Seanad may even reject the Budget and shock horror delay it for a whole 21 days. But that will have no impact...like the Seanad.

That's why I wanted a Yes vote. It was blatantly obvious that nobody would be able to agree on the exact reforms needed. Afterall, if they couldn't agree on the implementation the dozen or so reports over 70 years of this Seanads existence! Mark my words, in 10 15 years time this will be back on the agenda again as people scratch their heads and wonder why the hell we need a second chamber. Some of them will probably be the same people who voted No this time, but, they will keep quiet.....in much the same way that you never meet anybody who voted FF 1997-2011!!!

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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:00 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by odlum833 View Post
Which he didn't give. This is not the first time he has refused to engage with a referendum. Even in the GE in 2011 he was too shy about debating. That could ultimately have lost the government this vote. And it's going to get him in to trouble sooner or later.

Good post btw.
Actually, an endorsement for Kenny might have resulted in a stronger No vote

It was a bad decision to hold the referendum now anyway. There should have held it either in the first 6 months of Government during the full flush of newness or in the last 6 months when the Budget adjustments were completed and there was limited time for Seanad reprisals.

To hold in right now, before the last Austerity Budget when the Governments popularity is at its nadir was sheer madness!!!

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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #44
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I don't agree, upper houses require individuals of academic excellence to provide a voice of reason on several matters. I firmly believe that an upper house should be comprised of intellectuals from an array of fields as well as individuals with experience in government, law and business. An upper house should act as an impartial and intellectual chamber that can actively examine new law and expose flaws. That should be the primary purpose of an upper house, to examine and expose bad law.

I also believe that upper houses should have no political affiliation and members should be elected as independents and not as party candidates.
Hey BUG

I agree with you about an Upper house being formed with Registered Independents.

However, I don't agree about its composition. Any legislature which is not elected by a Nations Citizens on a one person, one vote is absolutely undemocratic.

I think if meaningful Dail reform had been proposed we could have included expertise in drafting legislation in much the same way as happened during the Protection of life during Pregnancy Bill. Some ammendments proposed at those hearing were actually adopted without the Taxpayer having to pay for the upkeep of the experts.

Moreover, since the begin of the recession there have been loads of calls for experts and those qualified in various fields to be included in Government. The implication being that a lack of qualified TDs was the sole reason for our downfall. Its often forgotten, the the Management of Anglo, Irish Nationwide, AIB along with the Civil Servants in the Central Bank and Regulators Office were all highly Educated and Qualified individuals!! In addition, there have been many calls for more TDs like Shane Ross in the Dail, well, clearly people forget that in 2005/2006 he was calling for less Financial Regulation and indeed wrote an article calling for Sean Fitzpatrick (Anglo Chairman) to be made Financial Regulator!!!!

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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #45
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I don't think they should be 'appointed' I think they should be elected, with the exception of some candidates being appointed by the Taoiseach, I think it's important to keep that as it's allowed some very well respected people to contribute when they otherwise would not have had the ability. I'm thinking of people like Seamus Mallon.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:16 PM   #46
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Why do you support retention of the university seats, out of interest? They're nothing but elitist and very outdated at this stage.
Funnily enough Cat, based on talking to people and reading hundreds of online comments its evident that many No voters are only marginally committed to far reaching reforms. Despite all the talk about retaining the Seanad to save Democracy most agree with its worst undemocratic aspects.

The wailings of David Norris and Sean Barrett has disguised the fact that the Trinity Senators have been at the forefront of preventing the extention of the franchise University panel.

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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:20 PM   #47
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I don't think they should be 'appointed' I think they should be elected, with the exception of some candidates being appointed by the Taoiseach, I think it's important to keep that as it's allowed some very well respected people to contribute when they otherwise would not have had the ability. I'm thinking of people like Seamus Mallon.
That's were I encounter problems. I want representation from the North. But if there was a popular vote we'd end up with 3 Shinners! Unionists even if they had the right just wouldn't vote or not in the numbers to get people elected. We would never have anybody as inspirational as Gordon Wilson. However, appointments to a parliament are just wrong at a fundamental level. I don't see how these diverse voices could not be given a role and an imput just not by destroying the basic principle of democracy.

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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:24 PM   #48
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Disagree about the Taoiseach's appointments. If you are going to have a senate with real powers the leader of the government has to be able to appoint a number of representatives to push the governments view or else you could end up with a completely dysfunctional parliament with the upper house trying to stop everything the government tries to do if they were so inclined.

It's a necessary evil.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 01:42 PM   #49
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Disagree about the Taoiseach's appointments. If you are going to have a senate with real powers the leader of the government has to be able to appoint a number of representatives to push the governments view or else you could end up with a completely dysfunctional parliament with the upper house trying to stop everything the government tries to do if they were so inclined.

It's a necessary evil.
That's why I wanted rid of it. If you have to by Law have unelected Government Representatives to push the Governments viewpoint then its undemocratic. Having an entire second chamber to do this task is an absolute waste.

I agree about duplication though, but I would have thought that renders nearly all Seanad reform proposals null and void.

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Old October 8th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #50
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Why do you support retention of the university seats, out of interest? They're nothing but elitist and very outdated at this stage.
Well those were just the first two of my ideas of how a new Seanad could be staffed. In any case both of those ideas would represent a major enfranchisement of the Irish people. They would go from having no vote at all in Seanad elections to being able to elect either 75 or 89% of senators without a degree and tens of thousands of graduates from ITs and the University of Limerick would have a vote for the first time.

I'm also someone with a sense of tradition in politics and it appeals to me the fact that our upper house is partly elected by graduates of universities. It is a unique feature of the Irish republic and it has its origins in the historical context of the 1937 constitution when the Seanad was to be a real council of elders where individuals of esteem, learning and distinguishment would cast a discerning eye over legislation emanating from the popular assembly in the Dáil. I find that while the vocational panels have been overtaken by party politics; the university panel has remained largely faithful to its original purpose. The panel elects people who are independent, but not in the parochial sense many independent TDs are. They provide some proper outside scrutiny of legislation and raise some very interesting points often. I'm one of those people who watches Oireachtas Report and I'm struck by the difference in the level of contributions to debates by those from the university panel and those elected by councillors. Many party political senators spend a lot of time barracking the opposition and scoring points. People like Joe O'Toole and Feargal Quinn however seem a lot more interested in the substantive points of the legislation and bring to the process their experience as trade unionist and businessman respectively.

In any case I'm not wedded to the idea of the university panel in the Seanad, merely that it's something which I feel has contributed some good to the Irish political system and one which could be made more accessible by widening it from the National and Dublin Universities. One thing which I would like see trialled is electing people by lot. Being a senator could be like serving in a jury. Every two years we do a randomised draw of Irish citizen's PPS numbers and select 60 people to serve in the upper house. This could be quite salutary in providing the average Irish citizen a real chance to shape political progress or it could be a major headache. Either way I think it could be the sort of radical reform we could try with the Seanad before deciding to scrap it.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #51
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That's were I encounter problems. I want representation from the North. But if there was a popular vote we'd end up with 3 Shinners! Unionists even if they had the right just wouldn't vote or not in the numbers to get people elected. We would never have anybody as inspirational as Gordon Wilson. However, appointments to a parliament are just wrong at a fundamental level. I don't see how these diverse voices could not be given a role and an imput just not by destroying the basic principle of democracy.
A possible solution to this could be non-voting seats available for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Stormont. As one will always be from the other tradition to the other this allows both Northern nationalists and unionists to be represented, and although not directly elected to the Seanad, they'd be elected by someone.

edit: Of course this may not be entirely practical as they do have an Executive to run...!

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Old October 13th, 2013, 01:52 AM   #52
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Kenny plans to extend Seanad voting rights to all graduates
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Old October 13th, 2013, 02:49 AM   #53
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edit: Of course this may not be entirely practical as they do have an Executive to run...!
That's debatable......
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Old October 13th, 2013, 05:41 PM   #54
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To be fair to him, he does acknowledge that its "a small first step" towards reform. That said, it could mean he intends to retain the university seats in any reformed chamber.
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Old October 13th, 2013, 07:50 PM   #55
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Firstly, WHAT ABOUT THE NON-GRADUATES WHICH MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF CITIZENS IN THIS COUNTRY???!!!

Secondly, to get rid of the University seats would require a referendum as they are specified in the Constitution.

I will try to post details of the Quinn-Zappone Bill and Crown Bill later. Both proposed varying degrees of reform with Crowns being a lot more radical. However, possibly in the Quinn-Zappone proposals and Definitely in the case of the Crown Proposals a Referendum would be needed.

All of this reinforces the point that No voters were sold a pup in terms of reform. Those that go too far replicate the Dail, those that don't go far enough retain an expensive, powerless, elitist taking shop. And, as predicted those suggesting reform rather then abolition can't agree on reform.

Of course, its also obvious since the vote, that despite all the yap about protecting democracy, and preventing a power grab, many yes voters are actually very comfortable disenfranchising large segments of society.

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