Seanad retained as 'No' campaign claims victory

The Taoiseach said he was "naturally, personally disappointed" by the defeat of the referendum to abolish the Seanad, as attention now turns to the need for political reform.

Seanad retained as 'No' campaign claims victory

The Taoiseach said he was "naturally, personally disappointed" by the defeat of the referendum to abolish the Seanad, as attention now turns to the need for political reform.

• YES: 591,937

• NO: 634,437

• Total poll: 1,240,721

• Invalid: 14,355

• Valid poll: 1,226,374

“Sometimes in politics you get a wallop in an electoral process,” Enda Kenny said outside Dublin Castle after the people rejected the proposition by a majority of 51.7% to 48.3%. But he said there was a virtue in honouring his commitment to put the question to the people.

Mr Kenny who said during the campaign that the Seanad was "not reformable" said this evening that the Government will continue with reform and "assess how best the Seanad can contribute effectively to that reform."

He said: "It is a bit early to go into too much detail about how one might reflect in a reflective way on this matter."

Asked if he would the issue of Seanad reform to the Constitutional Convention, he said: "That is something we will certainly consider."

The range of proposals he has heard about in relation to reforming the Seanad "in some cases would require another referendum," he said.

"So what I want to do is to reflect on how best and most effectively the Seanad can contribute now to the process of political reform, in a meaningful way arising from a very clear decision and verdict of the people."

The Labour Leader and Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, said people who voted to keep the Seanad had not voted for the status quo: "This is a reforming Government and the ideas for reforming the Senate should be discussed more fully now that the referendum is over," he said.

He said the Constitutional Convention is one option to examine the future of the Upper House, but it should also be considered by the Senate itself.

Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin, said his party would "move with others to ensure and follow through with what we said, that there is a capacity to legislate for reform of the Seanad in the context of bills on the table."

His party will now support the reform plans proposed by Independent Senators Feargal Quinn and Katherine Zappone. This includes requirements for the Seanad to retain a gender balance, imposing a pay cut of €20,000 for members, extending voting rights to all college graduates and allowing Seanad candidates to be nominated by 500 citizens or more.

Independent TD, Catherine Murphy, said the Government shoudl "stop tinckering around the edges with piecemeal reform" and proceed with "wholescale changes to the political institutions of this country."

Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, who campaigned to keep the Seanad, said the No vote cannot be views as a vote to retain the House in its present form.

"The Government must now move swiftly to refer the issue of the future of the Seanad to the Constitutional Convention," he said.


Carlow / Kilkenny NO 50.5%, YES 49.5%

Cavan / Monaghan: YES 55%, NO 45%

Clare: YES 51%, NO 48%

Cork East: NO 51%, YES 48%

Cork North Central: YES 51.84%, NO 48.16%

Cork North West: NO 50.05%, YES 49.95%

Cork South Central: YES 51.27%, NO 48.73%

Cork South West: YES 50.9%, NO 49.1%

Donegal North East: NO 51.69 %, YES 48.31%

Donegal South West: NO 50.42%, YES 49.58%

Dublin Central: NO 57.9%, YES 42.1%

Dublin Mid West: NO 54.7%, YES 45.3%

Dublin North: NO 54.67%, YES 45.33%

Dublin North-East: NO 54.57%, YES 45.43%

Dublin North Central: NO: 54.8%, YES 45.2%

Dublin North West: NO 54.6%, YES 45.3%

Dublin South: NO 53.2%, YES 46.8%

Dublin South Central: NO 51%, YES 49%

Dublin South East: NO 61.33%, YES 38.67%

Dublin South West: NO 52%, YES 47%

Dublin West: YES 42.4%, NO 57.6%

Dun Laoghaire: YES 42.9% NO 57.1%

Galway East: YES 51.4%, 48.6% NO

Galway West: NO 50.6%, YES 49.3%

Kerry North West/Limerick: YES 53.84%, NO 46.16%

Kerry South: YES 54%, NO 46%

Kildare North: NO 54.64%, YES 45.39%

Kildare South: NO 55.5%, YES 44.49%

Laois / Offaly: NO 54%, YES 46%

Louth: NO 52.3%, YES 47.7%

Limerick: YES 50.45%, NO 49.55%

Limerick City: YES 52.72%, NO 47.28%

Longford / Westmeath YES 51.02%, NO 48.98%

Meath East: YES 47.4%, NO 52.5%

Meath West: NO 53.6%, YES 46.3%

Mayo: YES 57.46%, NO 42.54%

Roscommon / South Leitrim YES 51.67%, NO 48.33%

Sligo / North Leitrim: YES 50.8%, NO 49.2%

Tipperary South: YES 50.4%, NO 49.6%

Tipperary North: YES 50.38%, NO 49.62%

Waterford: NO 53.5%, YES 46.5%

Wexford: NO 50.1%, YES 49.9%

Wicklow: NO 57.8%, YES 42.2%

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence