Seanad referendum due in autumn

Seanad referendum due in autumn

The Taoiseach has said the proposal to abolish the Seanad will be put to the people in a referendum next autumn.

In his end-of-year briefing with journalists, Enda Kenny promised that the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad would go ahead next year.

He said a number of other votes on other issues could be held on the same day, but that would depend on what the constitutional convention recommends when it reports back to the Government.

The convention met for the first time at the start of December where it considered around eight different issues – including same-sex marriage, reducing the presidential term and lowering the voting age from 18 to 17 years.

“If they come back with a proposal, they will get an answer one way or another,” said Mr Kenny.

“It could well be a few referenda depending on what it is we want to do, but certainly the Seanad announcement is going to be in there. It focuses the mind of senators as well."

The Taoiseach has vowed to live up to his pre-election promise to campaign for the abolition of the Seanad.

“It’s a central part of our structure of political reform, thereby reducing the number of Oireachtas members very substantially,” he said.

The Seanad is made up of 60 senators – 11 nominated by the Taoiseach, six elected by graduates of Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland, and the remaining 43 elected by vocational panels.

The Taoiseach insisted that ultimately, the decision on whether to abolish the upper house lies with the public.

“As I said to them in the Seanad when I spoke to them, their fate lies in the hands of the people,” he said.

“The people are going to be given the opportunity to adjudicate on the Seanad and they will have that opportunity in the autumn of next year.”


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