“Seanad Éireann must become democratically accountable to the people of Ireland, and I will work to extend the franchise to as many of our citizens as possible,” said Fianna Fáil Senator, Ned O’Sullivan who was elected as Vice Chair of a new Oireachtas Committee on Seanad Reform this week.
Commenting after his election, Senator O’Sullivan said that “the people saved Seanad Éireann in 2013 but a mandate for change was clearly given. The status quo with an extremely limited electorate is not acceptable to me, to my party, and I believe to the Irish people.
“As a revising chamber, it should not replicate the work of Dáil Éireann but it can add to the legislative process by enabling a different type of public representative to be elected.
“Areas that I want to see progress on include ensuring the vote for all 3rd level graduates and not just graduates of the NUI and TCD; ring-fencing a number of the Taoiseach’s nominees for Northern representatives of both communities and of minorities in Ireland, and ensuring that citizens have a role in the election of a proportion of the 43 senators currently elected by members of Dáil and Seanad Éireann and County and City Councillors.
“In addition, the Seanad, I believe, should play a bigger role in scrutinising EU legislation and directives. Upwards of 70% of all legislation in Ireland now originates in Brussels, and I think that Seanad Éireann needs to investigate and interrogate this legislation in greater detail.
“I’m thrilled about this new role, and I am relishing an opportunity to finally deliver a Seanad that is democratic and accountable,” concluded O’Sullivan.