Congratulations to dr. Tom Clonan, who became Ireland’s newest Senator last week. He is known for his campaigns on disability and other issues and I wish him well.
didn’t choose him. But then again, I didn’t vote for anyone. In fact, I’m not allowed to run for any senator in any election.
I have absolutely no say in the composition of our so-called “House of Lords,” and despite our claim to be one of the most democratic nations in the world, I never will.
Although I can’t pretend to be overly upset that I don’t get to vote in a group of part-time, failed, and/or aspiring TDs, nor, indeed, am the worthy advocate for change or the wordy-debating high-flyers of society I am concerned that no one seems to care that vast numbers of Irish people are unable to exercise a mandate that should be the cornerstone of a democratic republic.
Yes, the real business of changing the law is done in the Dáil, for which we all have a vote, but the Seanad has certain powers that should at least allow most of us a say in who gets to exercise them.
43 years ago, a referendum decided to expand the number of university bodies with voting rights to include technical universities and other universities. It was never issued.
Higher Education Minister Simon Harris took to Twitter to urge it to go into effect (he really should get into government; he would get things done instead of being forced to just tweet about it).
Whether or not this action is taken, I still cannot vote for any of the current or future 60 members. Under Article 18 of the Constitution, 11 are nominated directly by the Taoiseach, 43 by professional bodies voted on by politicians, and three each by NUI and TCD graduates.
There is no category into which I or hundreds of thousands of other Irish citizens fall. It is deeply undemocratic and worse, unfair.
It’s less choice and more choice.
And when that falters, it gets worse that even those who have a voice can’t bother to use it. The turnout in the last election was 19.8 percent. Pathetic and apathetic.
In 2013 I was allowed to vote in a referendum to abolish the Seanad. I was in the minority of 48 percent to lose that one and that’s how the chamber remains.
A few years later I was tentatively approached about having my name accepted as a Senator candidate, ironically noticing it. I politely declined as hypocrisy is not my way of changing the status quo.
However, I would modestly accept a vote, because if we keep this thing going – and I am first and foremost a democrat – then maybe we could now decide another referendum on democracy itself.
It should be possible to expand the electorate and thus the candidates. Just a thought, Senator Clonan. And good luck.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/i-am-unable-to-vote-for-a-senator-and-yet-i-was-asked-to-run-for-the-seanad-41524752.html I cannot elect a senator – and yet I was asked to run for the Seanad